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HOOQ India’s new MD Salil Kapoor bets big on glocal strategy

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MUMBAI: Global OTT player HOOQ, which forayed into India earlier this year, has made its first big move forward. The platform has roped in industry veteran Salil Kapoor as managing director to handle its India operations.

At a time when Indian companies are also firming up with the OTT strategy and keeping the impeding launch of Netflix in the Indian market, Kapoor’s appointment may well be a strategic move to tackle the competitive scenario. Kapoor, who is betting big on glocal content as the way forward for HOOQ, tells Indiantelevision.com, “My primarily role will be to establish the India operations. We will set up a new team and after we have achieved targets set for the Indian market, we will foray into neighbouring countries.”

HOOQ follows a subscription based video on demand (SVOD) revenue model and has recently inked content deals with the likes of Sun TV and Saregama India, which includes content in South Indian languages of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada as well as Hindi.

“We will be looking at many other such partnerships, our end goal is to create a strong portfolio comprising Bollywood, Hollywood and regional content for our subscribers,” asserts Kapoor.  

Moreover, the platform will not just be limiting itself to acquisitions, but will also looking at creating original content.

Reliance Jio, with the employee launch of its 4G services, has rejuvenated the entire OTT fraternity. Bandwidth has been a teething issue for the sector and Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G services has raised the hopes of one and all. “What Reliance Jio is doing is great indeed. But it will have a holistic impact. Now other telecom players will also do something or the other and at the end of the day, data price will go down. So I think good days are ahead when it comes to bandwidth,” says Kapoor.

The freemium revenue model is something that experts are talking about aggressively in the Indian scenario. In the freemium model, premium content is put on a subscription model, while old content can be accessed for free. At this stage, HOOQ is not looking to change its strategy. “We follow the SVOD model and at this stage we are not looking to deviate from it. It’s my second day in office and with time there will be many more developments,” adds Kapoor.

All major broadcasters now have their own OTT platforms. Star India has Hotstar, which follows an AVOD model, while ZEE’s DittoTV is a subscription based platform. Viacom18 is yet to disclose the revenue model of its platform VOOT. On the other hand, while Sony Pictures Networks’ Sony LIV follows the freemium model, during the FIFA World Cup matches, it offered all the matches for a subscription. Earlier this year, Eros International’s ErosNow also unveiled aggressive and ambitious plans for original content on its platform. Apart from broadcasters, Ronnie Screwvala, in association with Ajay Chacko and B Saikumar, has also launched an OTT platform called Arre and has a comprehensive plans drawn out for it. In a competitive scenario like this, it remains to be seen how HOOQ manages to create a niche for itself.

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