Hooq, a Singapore based streaming platform backed by Singapore Telecommunications limited, has filed for liquidation, owing to insignificant growth, resulting in the company’s inability to promise sustainable returns for covering escalating operating costs. The platform houses a wide array of Hollywood movies and TV shows, along with locally produced content, which was its USP when it first launched. However, when Netflix entered the market of local content, Hooq could not keep on par with the streaming giant.
Started in 2015 by Singtel in collaboration with marquee production houses namely Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros Entertainment, the platform could not compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. With a popularity that continues to rise for both these platforms in Asia, high costs of content and limited growth in paying customers over the years ultimately resulted in Hooq’s liquidation.
Singtel, which has an indirect 76.5% effective stake in HOOQ, said in a filing to the stock exchange that the liquidation is not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of the company.
“Global and local content providers are increasingly going direct, the cost of content remains high, and emerging-market consumers’ willingness to pay has increased only gradually amid an increasing array of choices,” a Hooq spokesperson said in a statement.
Thus, amid a ever changing market,”HOOQ has not been able to grow sufficiently to provide sustainable returns nor cover escalating content costs and the continuous operating costs of an independent OTT distribution platform,” the spokesperson added.
The announcement from the company came as a shock as just a few months back, it was planning to expand its foothold in the regions where it operates, especially its home market Singapore. The company had announced that it was working to expand its catalogue with local content and add 100 original titles this year.
The platform also operates in India in partnership with Disney-owned Hotstar, the biggest player in the Indian market. Hooq had launched its services in India back in 2015, but never really gained any significant traction or paid users. This is one of the reasons why company’s revenues never really took off. Interestingly, the market at that point was fairly naive, with Netflix and Prime Video yet to make any significant inroads.