Regional streaming service HOOQ has just launched its first Hollywood original content titled The Oath.
The series stars Ryan Kwanten (of HBO’s True Blood) and Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) and was created by Joe Halpin. The writer-producer of Hawaii Five-0, Halpin was inspired by the events he has witnessed working at the LA County Sheriff’s Department in South Central, where he worked for 18 years.
HOOQ hosted a screening of the series’ first episode, which also served as the introduction of the company’s new country manager, Sheila Paul.
An alumna of TV5 and advertising giant Saatchi and Saatchi, Sheila initially worked as the head of the company’s marketing department before leading HOOQ’s Philippine team, based in Bonifacio Global City.
Sheila explains that many of HOOQ’s content were acquired through various means and partnerships. “Most of our Hollywood dealings are done by our regional office, which is based in Singapore,” she says.
“Local acquisitions [such as movies and TV shows from local networks] are handled by our own office. We also have partnerships with Pioneer Films in order to get their movies. We are also partly owned by Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures, who serve as a bridge in acquiring Hollywood content.
“We get content that we think will get good traction among the audience but you wouldn’t be able to develop it or put it on normal [local] channels. For example, it’s so edgy, it’s so controversial that you won’t be able to put it on regular TV.”
Included in the company’s pipeline of local content is On The Job 2, the sequel to the hit movie, and its miniseries version. Directed by its original creator Erik Matti and written by his partner Michiko Yamamoto, the new iteration will delve into media corruption.
Says Sheila, “The original idea for OTJ was supposed to be a series. Erik had so much ideas for the pilot episode that he said, ‘You know what, this pilot episode is so good that I don’t want to make it part of the series. Let’s spin it into a movie.’”
Explains Sheila, “It’s a stand-alone movie in that it’s a sequel to the first but meron lang a few crossover characters from the first movie. It has its own story but it will introduce a few characters of the series.”
Audiences can expect the movie and miniseries to drop on the service by the third quarter of 2018. Sheila wants to keep the cast of the sequel and the miniseries under wraps.
“The series will have a connection to the sequel,” says Sheila. “But you don’t have to watch OTJ 2 to understand the series.
Expect to see a few character crossovers, giving rise to what Erik calls the OTJ cinematic universe.
“Some of the main characters [from the first movie] will [also] appear kung hindi sila pinatay,” shartes Sheila. “Wala na si Piolo [Pascual], wala na si Gerald Anderson. Joey Marquez is not in the movie, unfortunately. Until we do the cast announcements, I’m not at liberty to say who.
“But Bela Padilla and Arjo Atayde will be cast for the series. There will be a different cast for the movie.”
Sheila believes that while competitor Netflix has stronger buzzword among the public, HOOQ has what it takes to compete toe-to-toe with the streaming giant.
“People will go to a certain service because there is something there that they like to watch,” she says. Definitely, it’s about picking shows that they like to watch.
“Some of the good performers in our catalog are Supergirl and Lucifer, which stream 24 hours after of their US airing. That’s something no other platform has. People are coming to Hooq if they don’t catch it on regular airing. There are those such as The Oath that will only be available on Hooq. It’s about maintaining a fresh pipeline of content and building our exclusive and originals library.”