The pact provides Hotstar with a significant upscaling of its Hollywood content, while for HOOQ, the arrangement is a massive expansion of its reach in India. Launched less than four years ago, Hotstar claims over 350 million downloads, and 150 million monthly active users.
Hotstar Premium users currently have access to Hollywood content from HBO, Fox and Disney. The new deal is a seamless extension, at no extra cost, that brings in movies and series from other studios including Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and content producers including Lionsgate and Miramax.
The move comes at a time when Indian appetite for Hollywood content is growing. For years, Hollywood movies had minority appeal in Indian and accounted for less than 5% of Indian box office. In their latest entertainment industry report, published in March, FICCI and audit firm Ernst & Young, calculated that Hollywood earned $110 million (INR8.01 billion) in theaters in 2017, or some 13% of the gross box office total.
Titles covered by the new deal include “The Big Bang Theory,” “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “S.W.A.T.,” “The Goldbergs,” “Wonder Woman,” “Harry Potter,” “Spider-Man” and “Pulp Fiction.” HOOQ Originals like “The Oath,” will also be available.
HOOQ is backed by owners including Sony Pictures Television, WarnerMedia and Singtel, and is currently operational in four Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and The Philippines –plus India.
Given the challenges of collecting recurring monthly subscriptions in Southeast and South Asia, relationships with telecoms operators and DTH satellite providers are crucial to the success of video platforms operating within the region. Within India, HOOQ is currently distributed through Airtel and Vodafone.
“This collaboration with Hotstar combines their reach with our offering as the ‘Home for Hollywood’ in India,” said Peter Bithos, HOOQ’s CEO, in a prepared statement. “With the appetite for Hollywood content in India growing at a furious pace, we are poised to offer the Indian customer easily accessible and a very affordable way to watch the best of Hollywood.”
“Hotstar Premium’s English catalogue is unlike anything you’ll find on any other platform in the world – an aggregation of content from across studios and content producers, at a single destination. This partnership with HOOQ, with its portfolio of curated blockbuster Hollywood content, seals the argument,” said Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar.