New interface allows HOOQ users to swipe up and down
With more people viewing video content on their mobile devices, companies offering premium video-on-demand services are sitting up and taking notice. In fact HOOQ, Asia’s first and largest service is launching a new hybrid model in the country tomorrow (Oct. 6) that will initially be available on the Android platform.
The new app with all its attendant features is the result of nearly nine months of development by HOOQ’s in-house team based on how viewers consume content.
“We noted how people rarely swipe left or right to view content on their mobile devices,” Peter Bithos, HOOQ’s chief executive officer, told select reporters earlier today. “If they’re viewing on their phone, they use their thumbs to swipe up and down. That’s what the new interface allows them to do.”
Posters for TV shows and movies are bigger and feature more faces because viewers respond to faces. They click on them, he said. The HOOQ team thus had to come up with new posters but before they could upload them on the app, they had to get the approval of the respective TV and movie studios.
“We actually have a team of designers in Indonesia tasked to redesign these posters. Studios don’t always agree with the first design but they give suggestions on what to improve or feature so that’s what we work on,” Bithos said.
He says the new app is totally different from when it was first launched a year and a half ago.
“The new hybrid model is a result of what we have learned over the past year after studying usage patterns and speaking to numerous customers and understanding what they want in a video-on-demand service,” he said.
Unlike other similar services that allow non-subscribers to access their library for free but usually for just a month, HOOQ has made the pilot episodes of over 200 TV shows free for viewing forever.
“If they like the pilot, they might be inclined to subscribe to HOOQ. We realized that not everyone can shell out a monthly fee so now we also offer a ‘sachet product’ where they have access to all our content for just P59, for seven days” Bithos said. “We’re the first to offer this kind of service in Asia, and probably the world.”
The Singapore-based Bithos used to work at Globe Telecom and is familiar with the buying habits of Filipinos. He is even familiar with the Filipino term “tingi” or our penchant for sachets.
“We believe this will be a win-win strategy for both our customers and our business as it allows the customers to try the service and content before they decide to purchase. At the same time, we have the opportunity to re-engage customers whenever we introduce our latest titles, outside of the free trial period,” he said.
HOOQ is a start-up joint venture established in January 2015 by Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. It currently operates in the Philippines, Thailand, India and Indonesia. Visit www.hooq.tv