Singapore – In the world of television and video, the days of the “off” switch are largely gone. With the rise of smart device ownership, combined with improved and affordable mobile connectivity, consumers are hungrier for online videos and they are spending more time watching them. In a 2014 Nielsen online survey of global digital attitudes[1], over 76% polled said they enjoy the freedom of being connected anytime, anywhere. However, there is currently limited access to quality entertainment that can be streamed directly to the screen of one’s choice. It is either illegal, costly or of inferior quality.

[1] The Cross Platform Report Q2 2014

Nevertheless, over-the-top (OTT) is shaping up to be a game changer in the TV industry, and the OTT market is now on the fast track for expansion. The global video-on-demand market will be worth US$45.3 billion by 2018[2]. OTT service providers are starting to cash in on the brimming potential of the market through offering a wide array of video entertainment content at an affordable price to consumers.

 

Game-changing video-on-demand service

Enter HOOQ, Asia’s first premium video-on-demand service. Launched two months ago in the Philippines, it has just entered the Thailand market. A start-up joint venture between SingTel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Entertainment, HOOQ’s service allows customers to enjoy unlimited online streaming access to over 10,000 movies and television programs, via multiple devices including PCs, smartphones and tablets.

“HOOQ’s raison d’etre is to change the way people across Asia view entertainment,” said Peter Bithos, CEO, HOOQ. “We are focused on enhancing consumers’ digital lives as their partner for in-home and on-the-go entertainment.”

 

Bringing Endless Hours of Entertainment to Asian Consumers

The outlook might be optimistic but the journey is not easy. The rampant digital piracy in Asia, especially in developing markets, is a key challenge in the OTT set-up. Consumers would rather download and stream content for free rather than pay for video services. In addition, the myriad of local languages makes it difficult to provide content that suits everyone.

The gap in infrastructure development across markets in Asia is also an issue. In India and the Philippines, broadband speeds are currently less than half the global average and the average webpage in Thailand takes about 17.4 seconds to load, which makes seamless streaming tricky.