Hooq sees original content as key ingredient to India’s OTT mix

Is original content the recipe for online video success?

Netflix, which plans to spend at least $5 billion on original content in 2016 and another $5 billion next year certainly thinks it’s one of the main ingredients.

As does one of its rivals in India.

Hooq, the joint venture of SingTel, Sony Pictures TV and Warner Bros., said it will create a more pedestrian $2 million in original content for the Indian market, at least initially, following on the heels of a June co-production deal with the Philippines’ biggest mobile brand Globe Telecom and independent studio Reality Entertainment for an original mini-series for that market.

Hooq entered the Indian market in May.

“We are in talks with a few other (production) studios in India but nothing finalized yet,” said Hooq India MD Salil Kapoor. “We are seeing a gap in local language content available on broadcasters’ apps. Such content or programming is not available on other neutral platforms too.”

It’s a gap Kapoor thinks Hooq can fill, he said, as it looks to expand in the market.

The SVOD service currently is available in the Philippines, Thailand and India.

Hooq has more than just Netflix to battle; iFlix and Amazon Prime Instant Video both will be in the market soon, with Amazon saying it will invest $300 million in original content for India.

Local players like Star India, Viacom18, Sony India, Savvn, Zee, Times of India and Reliance Industries also are expected to spend big on original content in the market.

Industry analysts expect the demand for OTT video to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83% in the next five years. India, with an estimated 1.3 billion people, recently moved past the United States as the 2nd largest smartphone market globally (behind China). This means a lot of video on mobile devices – and growing exponentially.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn