GLOBE Telecom announced on Thursday that they are partnering with a startup video-on-demand service tailor-made for the Asian consumer, which they expect will change the way Filipinos view entertainment.
At their quarterly Wonderful World with Globe event at the Green Sun in Makati, President and CEO Ernest Cu reiterated their commitment to lead in delivering a digital lifestyle to the Philippines with their service offerings for music, chat, social networking and sports.
Within the month, they will make available the services of Hooq, a startup venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment. The partnership will allow Globe customers unlimited streaming access to 10,000 movies and TV shows from Hollywood, Asia and the Philippines on their smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops.
Cu said: “2014 will be remembered as the year we strengthened our presence in the global mobile arena through our solid partnerships with Facebook, Google, Spotify, NBA and Viber to give Filipinos the best digital lifestyle experience. And now, as market purveyor, we are now first in Asia with HOOQ. These strategic and valuable partnerships have made Globe the No. 1 in the realm of digital services.”
Former Globe chief operating advisor Peter Bithos, now the founding CEO of Hooq, assured that the service is suited to emerging markets and its partnership with Globe allows them to offer the service for P199 a month, a price point that he said works for emerging markets like the Philippines.
They chose the Philippines to launch the service in Asia because of their customers’ love of both local and foreign movies and their high adoption of the mobile digital lifestyle.
Globe senior adviser for consumer business Dan Horan said this partnership takes them a step further to “the next evolution in entertainment.” Horan said that they not only offer a platform for access to entertainment, they also provide a legal service that is affordable, which he hopes addresses piracy issues.
He said that when they launched music service Spotify in April last year, they saw three million people using the service in nine months, which means they switched from completely pirated sourced to legal ones. “That’s an amazing transformation,” he said.
They hope to do for movies and TV shows what they did for music with their latest partnership with Hooq.
“Traditionally, viewing happens at home. But smartphone ownership is growing very rapidly. Anyone can now buy a smartphone for as low P3,000. At this pace, smartphone penetration is expected to reach 50 percent very soon. And this is driving very different behavior in terms of how Filipinos access their entertainment. Over-the-top viewing (or video viewing through an internet connection) is on the rise,” Horan said.
Signs of demand
Citing a Nielsen report in 2014, Horan said the service is timely because online video content is a pastime for digital consumers. The report stated that 85 percent of Filipinos watch online videos at least weekly, the second highest in the region, while seven out of 10 digital consumers reported watching TV content and movies from online sources. Penetration of Internet TV is at 71 percent, the second highest in the region.
Hooq will be offering movies and TV shows from Sony Pictures and Warner Bros., as well as content from Philippine studios ABS-CBN, GMA, Regal Films and Viva Entertainment.
But with more subscribers eating into the bandwidth, concerns were raised about Globe’s ability to provide the service without disrupting the quality of broadband.
Horan said that they have been investing in their network to be able to meet the data demands of their clients. They recently spent $700 million to transform 3,000 base stations to 3G and are rolling out another investment to extend LTE and 4G across the country.
At a briefing with reporters, Globe chief financial officer Albert de Larrazabal assured they are working to address the growing requirements of their customers. He said they are investing $500 million spread over a two-year period to modernize and expand their data network. They are also rolling out $50 million to improve fiber to the home infrastructure to bring on speeds of up to 100mbps.