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Gautam Kiyawat promoted to managing director at Hooq Singapore

Gautam Kiyawat has been promoted to managing director for Singapore at Singtel-owned OTT platform Hooq. This is in addition to his current role as head of freemium. He takes over from Adrian Teo who was country director.

Kiyawat has previously worked with P&G, Star TV, BlackBerry and Indian media agency Madison. He was most recently the founder of a startup called peppylocals.

Speaking about the managing director mandate, he said: “I like media businesses that have an element of creation.

“Having set up the AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) model and built the capability internally and externally, I found myself with bandwidth to take on more responsibility.

“In conversations, I made it clear that I wanted to be running the Singapore business and the role came up at the right time.

“It has been six months at Hooq and a great ride, so far. What separates Hooq from other players in the system is that we are here for the long term and don’t have a built-to-flip mentality.”

As head of freemium, building a business in markets like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand where free content has been plentifully available has been a key challenge. Speaking of his approach as head of freemium, he said: “We are building a balanced business model.

“There will always be the layer of people willing to pay for premium content — which to be honest, we have not fully cracked.

“But we also need to recognise there’s an opportunity to get people in with free content of great quality via an advertiser-funded layer.

“And then, with our user interface and experience, give them the opportunity to sample our premium content, and convert them down the funnel, through efficient payment mechanisms like digital wallets.

“We sell this content in sachets that could last a day or a week and which are significantly different in pricing from a monthly subscription.

“We have built a route to market that addresses content and payment dynamics and we have a telco business model, which handles all the billing and sales. Put these together and we are in a tremendously powerful position.”

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