Singtel’s answer to Netflix to launch in the Philippines this month

A launch date has been set for the introduction of HOOQ, Singtel’s newly unveiled version of video-on-demand platform Netflix, in the Philippines, the country where the new venture’s boss, the former Globe Telecom COO Peter Bithos, is based.

Hooq logo 'coming soon'

The service, which was unveiled by Singapore’s largest telco last week, is to be made available to Globe Telecom customers later this month, Globe, which is part-owned by Singtel, announced today.

Hollywood and Filipino movie and television content will be available online, on smartphones and tablets.

Partly repeating a statement in last week’s announcement from Singtel, Bithos, HOOQ’s CEO, was quoted as saying: “Across the emerging economies, people have amazing stories and love stories. However, a few billion people have no quality way of seeing the best stories from Hollywood or their local market. HOOQ will change that. HOOQ will change the way people in emerging markets consume and enjoy entertainment.”

He added: ‘The Philippines is a natural first market for us. Filipinos’ dual love of local and Hollywood combined with their digital savviness makes the Philippines a perfect place for us to start.”

The news comes the month before Netflix, which hasn’t opened in Asia yet, plans to launch in Australia, where Singtel owns local telco Optus, and New Zealand.

HOOQ was formed through a partnership between Singtel, Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers. Singtel confirmed last week that content will be censored according to the regulations of each local market, which initially will be Indonesia, India and Thailand as well as the Philippines.

Singtel has said that it will use its own group carrier billing capabilities. In India, the company owns a third of Airtel, the country’s largest telco, in Indonesia it has a 35 per cent stake in Telkomsel and in Thailand it controls 23.3 per cent of AIS.

Local content in the Philippines will include films such as Metro Manila, A Secret Affair, Shake Rattle and Roll and Ang Tanging Ina, and older favourites Dyesebel, Bagets and Bituing Walang Ningning.


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