Asian video streaming service Hooq has committed itself to developing at least 100 original shows and films by the end of this year. They will be produced in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and India, and range in genre terms from horror to comedy and from factual to lifestyle.
The company has begun the immediate release of “Bhak,” a colorful dramedy from aspiring filmmakers Arjun Chatterjee and Shreyom Ghosh, loosely based on their experience trying to break into the bowels of the Bollywood film industry. Starring Sreecharan Rachakonda, Akash Arora, and Priyanka Nath, the show runs to 8 episodes. It was the first winner of Hooq’s Filmmakers Guild, competition.
The 2020 roster is also set to include, “She’s A Terrorist And I Love Her.” HOOQ also it as this year’s winner at the APOS conference in Bali, Indonesia. The 8-part dark comedy revolves around a down-and-out man who enters a sham marriage for a quick payout, only to find that his beautiful “wife” is an extremist, hell-bent on wreaking havoc. The pitch came from Singapore online comedy channel, Ministry of Funny’s Terence Chia and Haresh Tilani. It will star Haresh Tilani, Alexis Sueann, Noah Yap, Farah Lola, Tiffany Gnanaraj and Jacky Ng.
Hooq is jointly owned by Singtel, Sony Pictures and Warnermedia. It says it will play some of its originals on its newly enhanced “freemium” layer, which was recently rolled out across Southeast Asia.
The moves are part of an intensifying arms race between OTT platforms in the Asia region. They are using original content to attract eyeballs to their platforms, convert users to subscriptions, and to beat their global rivals which have smaller amounts of local content.