We’ve had our share of churn.

Another Mumbrella post about HOOQ :: http://www.mumbrella.asia/2016/11/hooq-to-launch-in-singapore-in-january/

I have, obviously, talked about this before :: http://www.nokpis.com/2016/11/08/growing-pains-comical-excuse-for-the-truth/

A couple of things in the new post that are interesting. It seems the CXO churn is starting to hurt a little bit and HOOQ is now deciding to try and comment on it some. I think Krishnan is actually being pretty honest here:

Rajagopalan conceded: “We’ve had our share of churn.”

“It’s been combination of what’s natural for a startup, and the unique context of Hooq as a brand. It’s a startup that has deep-pocketed investors who have certain expectations. That has contributed to churn in certain ways, as has different personalities that have joined us.”

High churn has meant that Hooq has taken longer than previously to bring in new people.

“We’ve been careful about replacing the CXO suite. This time we want to make sure have the right people in place,” said Rajagopalan, who said that Hooq staff needed to be comfortable in both a startup and corporate environment.

I think the issue with HOOQ is that people go there expecting it to be like a startup. Unfortunately it is nothing like a startup except for the fact that it is a new company. What happens is employees, like myself, join expecting to work in a place similar to a startup but not knowing that there are three shareholders that are nothing like a startup. All that is okay but HOOQ is essentially just a mini video arm of Singtel and we all know Singtel is not a startup. This culture clash has probably been the major driver of churn across the CXO suite and into many of the other groups at HOOQ. Such is life.

It is also smart that they are being careful about how to replace the CXO team with folks who understand what they are signing up for.

Then this:

He pointed to Singtel’s acquisition of marketing business Amobee, which the telco acquired in 2012, as an example of another company that took a while to settle in to corporate life with the telco giant.

Hard to know from the outside how Amobee is doing. It may take years to know how it all went.


Lots of ad exchanges are struggling so the layoffs might be needed to compete globally. It is a tough space for sure.

As to HOOQ entering Singapore – this part I am baffled by. I have a hard time understanding how a product that makes sense for the emerging markets, Singapore is NOT an emerging market, would do well in Singapore.

However I think this is actually more akin to what HOOQ is becoming. Just a video product for Singtel to use in their network. Potentially that is the future of HOOQ – as a subsidiary of Singtel, yes it is JV but run like a subsidiary, to be the video product for the Singtel network. This might be a great business – who knows yet. However it means competitors like iFlix are starting to run in a league of their own as they move to be in all emerging countries regardless of their telco partnerships.

This then points to a larger debate to have. Is the OTT market in emerging markets going to be won by a large player cutting across many regions? Will the Netflix/Amazon’s of the world slowly be the global player? Or will a company like HOOQ, focused on servicing their telco parent, be the model? I don’t know.

I wouldn’t profess to see the future but I tend to think that a proper startup might have a better chance but at the same time the global players will probably have the best tech and the best content. However the telcos in Asia are quite powerful.

Let the games begin.


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