A snapshot of streaming services either based in Asia or focusing on Asian content but with headquarters outside of the region.
This is by no means a comprehensive list as it doesn’t include the huge number of on-demand services launched by broadcasters, pay-TV platforms, telcos and other players across Asia. It also doesn’t include China’s dynamic online video companies which have already been covered in depth by Chime. A longer list will be coming soon, but this is just a taste of where to (legally ) find the latest Asian and international content online.
IFLIX (Southeast Asia)
Owned by: Catcha Group, Evolution Media Capital
Kuala Lumpur-based iFlix has launched in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand with 10,000 hours of content sourced from US studios, including Disney, Fox and Universal, and dozens of Asian content owners. The service, priced at around $3 a month, is bundled with telcos in Malaysia (Digi) and the Philippines (PLDT). Launched in May, the service reported that it had 300,000 subscribers by mid-September.
HOOQ (Southeast Asia, India)
Owned by: Singtel, Warner Bros, Sony
Singapore-based HOOQ operates in the Philippines, Thailand and recently launched in India, also with around 10,000 hours of content from its US studio partners and distributors across Asia, including the Bollywood studios. Also priced at around $3 a month, the service has distribution partnerships with two Singtel affiliates – the Philippines’ Globe Telecom and AIS in Thailand.
Owned by: Reliance Entertainment
Launched in 2008, BIGFlix was India’s first movie on-demand service and initially also operated DVD rental outlets, although these have since been closed. The service, which offers pay-per-view and monthly subscription options, focuses on Indian movies in Hindi, English and several regional languages.
Owned by: Eros International
Ad-free service offering movies, TV shows and music from Eros International’s library of 3,000 films and local broadcasters such as Sony, Zee, Colors and Pakistan’s Hum TV. ErosNow has also started producing original TV shows such as The Client, directed by Rohan Sippy and starring Bipasha Basu. The service offers several payment options including monthly subscriptions, download to rent and download to own.
Owned by: Star India
Launched in February by 21st Century Fox’s Star India, Hotstar is a Hulu-like ad-supported service that offers movies, TV shows and sports, including original programming. It drew 340 millions views for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and 200 million for this year’s IPL season. Star India’s broadcast rivals Zee and Sony also operate on-demand services (Dish TV and Sony LIV respectively) although they are more extensions of the broadcasters’ linear programming.
Owned by: Dwango
A video-sharing website owned by Japanese media company Dwango, Niconico is the premier destination for ‘otaku’ (obsessive fans) with its focus on J-pop, anime, manga and computer games. Unlike other video sharing sites such as Youtube, users can write comments directly onto the videos as they play in real-time. Registration is required to use the service, which offers both free and subscription tiers.
Owned by: Rakuten
Based in Singapore, Viki streams movies and TV shows from all over the world, which are subtitled by fans into more than 200 languages. The company is also moving into original production with Dramaworld, co-produced with Chinese and Korean partners, about an obsessive fan who gets sucked into her favourite Korean TV drama. Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten acquired the service in 2013.
Owned by: Softbank
Launched in 2009 by co-founders Seung Bak and Suk Park, US-based DramaFever streams content from Asia, Europe and the Americas. It was acquired by Japanese telco SoftBank in October 2014. Although it started out with a focus on Korean TV dramas, it diversified rapidly and estimates that over 80% of its 3.5 million monthly viewers are non-Asian. The service offers both free ad-supported and premium subscription tiers.
Owned by: Otter Media
A US-based streaming service that focuses on Japanese anime and other East Asian content with both free and premium tiers. Founded as a non-profit video sharing site in 2006, Crunchyroll secured investment from Venrock in 2008 and was acquired by The Chernin Group is 2013. It is now part of Peter Chernin and AT&T’s joint venture Otter Media.