HOOQ launches 'free' feature for easy access to content

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2019 07:29 PM

MANILA - Video streaming service HOOQ launched a "free" feature on its platform on Thursday, as it competes in the growing video-on-demand market.

Starting Friday, June 21, anyone with a smartphone can watch free on-demand content on the HOOQ app without having to register.

Over a thousand local movie titles can be viewed for free from June 21 to July 20 as part of the platform's Freeplay Festival. Different titles will be moved to the free "layer" every quarter, the video streaming service said.

"HOOQ is attuned to the evolving needs of the social, convenience-driven and digital-savvy Filipino. We understand local nuances and most importantly, we get our audience," said HOOQ Philippines country manager Sheila Paul.

Among the titles that users will be able to watch for free is HOOQ's original movie Ulan top-billed by Nadine Lustre and Carlo Aquino and co-produced with Viva Films, said HOOQ Philippines head of content, Jeffrey Remigio.

"Filipinos, in general, are consumers of content on various free platforms and we are cognizant about that which is why we feel that we shouldn't be missing on this segment of the market... we need to fulfill that need and therefore we're offering free content to them," Remigio told ABS-CBN News.

To make money, ads or prerolls will be inserted in chosen content in a non-intrusive way, he said.

Users can still pay P149 per month for other "premium" content and for full access to HOOQ's vast catalog, which includes regional series, Korean dramas and latest Hollywood movies, Remigio said.

HOOQ also carries some of ABS-CBN's most popular TV shows like La Luna Sangre, Halik, Forever More and FPJ's Ang Probinsyano.

When asked about competitors such as Netflix and iFlix, Remigio said they push the platform to improve.

HOOQ is accessible online, on mobile devices, select TV models and set-top boxes. It has about 4 million registered users.