×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Asia Video Streamer Hooq to Be Integrated Into Grab App

Asian video-streaming platform Hooq is to be hosted on the Grab tech and services app in Southeast Asia, following a deal between the two companies. The deal is designed to accelerate the growth of both companies beyond their core businesses.

Grab was established in 2012 as a ride-hailing service in Singapore. In early 2018, Grab bought Uber’s businesses in Southeast Asia, and has since expanded into activities stretching from food delivery to payment services. Currently, it operates in eight countries and has over 130 million downloads.

Like a handful of other tech companies in Asia, Grab now styles itself as a “super-app” or ecosystem, a services platform that keeps users engaged throughout their daily lives. “Adding video was an obvious next step,” Danny Koik, Grab’s head of regional partnerships told Variety. “We know that people want more services.”

The deal is a revenue-sharing agreement which operates on two levels in the four Southeast Asian territories where the two companies’ operations overlap: Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. (Hooq, which is backed by Singtel, Warnermedia and Sony, also operates in India.)

All of Hooq’s advertising-supported (AVoD) content will be available through a widget on the Grab app’s home page. Grab users will also be offered a three-month trial of Hooq’s premium VoD services and 17 pay-TV channels. After a user’s trial has been completed, they will be able to sign up for 1-day, 7-day, or 30-day subscriptions, and see billing handled through the Grab Pay mobile wallet.

“Both companies have been very flexible in defining the business model,” Hooq founder Peter Bithos said. “We have also had to work with all our content partners to get this off the ground. This is a brand-new category of rights that nobody has operated before.”

The companies describe the deal as a “hockey-stick moment for both digital services and online video in (the Southeast Asia) region.” That is a reference to the non-linear growth prospects that are presented to innovative businesses in a region with a population the same size as Europe’s. Digital services are now overcoming many of the region’s geophysical barriers and socioeconomic challenges such as lack of bank accounts or credit cards. The market for subscription video in Southeast Asia is forecast to grow from $60 million in 2017 to $390 million, according to Dataxis.

“We have spent four years investing in technology, content and understanding to build the leading OTT service in Southeast Asia. Now is the time to move to another level,” Bithos said. Speaking to Variety, Bithos also dropped heavy hints that Hooq is interested in expanding into Vietnam and Malaysia, two other fast-growing and populous countries where Grab is already present. But he said there is “nothing material” to report.

“The Hooq partnership forms a cornerstone of Grab’s online media strategy, and will add to our strategy of becoming the everyday super-app in the region, by making our platform altogether more engaging,” said Koik. However, he did not rule out other moves into media and entertainment, such as co-production, “if the right opportunity comes along.”

Many of East Asia’s tech companies are engaged in a race to expand into ecosystems or super-apps. And with online video as one of the stickiest media formats – about 80% of all Southeast Asians say they watch online video every day – many have now expanded into multiple forms of entertainment. Examples include China’s Tencent, Alibaba, iQIYI and Meituan Dianping, Korea’s Kakao, Japan’s Line (the dominant messaging service in Thailand), and Indonesia’s Go-Jek.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Grab

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content