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Multi-territory video streaming service Hooq files for liquidation

It had been unable to grow fast enough to keep up with global and regional rivals.

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MUMBAI: Multi-territory video streaming service Hooq said last week that it has filed for liquidation as giant players are looking more into streaming services and the competition intensifies across the globe.

The service was launched in 2015 by the Singapore-based telecom company Singtel and was also backed by Warner and Sony. Along with India, Hooq was also available in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

“Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (“Singtel”) wishes to announce that HOOQ Digital Pte Ltd (“HOOQ”), a joint venture company in which Singtel has an indirect 76.5 per cent effective interest, has commenced a creditors’ voluntary liquidation. The liquidation of HOOQ is not expected to have any material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of Singtel,” it said in a stock exchange filing.

According to media reports, Hooq said in a statement that it had been unable to grow fast enough to keep up with global and regional rivals, and also noted “significant structural changes” in the over-the-top (OTT) video market in the five years since its launch.

“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 amidst an increasing array of choices,” said Hooq.

“Because of these changes, a viable business model for an independent, over-the-top distribution platform has become increasingly challenged,” it added.

Hooq has appointed Messrs Lim Siew Soo and Brendon Yeo Sau Jin as its joint and several provisional liquidators. A shareholder meeting and creditors’ meeting have also been set for 13 April.

Back in 2018, Hooq struck a unique deal with India’s leading streaming service Hotstar. Under the partnership, HOOQ’s 6,000 hour catalogue of Hollywood TV shows and movies were made  available for Hotstar Premium users. It also started offering more than Pay TV channels to their premium offering in partnership with brands across Asia.

Experts already warned about upcoming consolidations and exits in the media industry. Towards the end of 2019,  Hong Kong-headquartered PCCW Media’s Asian video streaming service Viu also  decided to fold its India operations.

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