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Doonee Seeks To Broaden Its Niche

Thai SVOD contender Doonee is banking on a broader content portfolio and continued distribution momentum to secure its foothold in a small but competitive market for paid video.

The service has accumulated about 300,000 registered users since launching in January, with a 5-8% conversion rate to paid subs each month.

It currently offers a small but fully localized catalog of mainly US fare, delivered with the help of mobile major AIS and state-owned telco TOT as well as smart TVs.

Two more major distribution deals are in the pipeline for Q1, a tie-up with Thailand’s other state-owned telecoms company, CAT, and a payment service via 7-11 convenience stores.

The service is backed by STG Mediaplex, a local buyer and aggregator of foreign content, which provides a network of industry contacts as well as in-house localization capabilities.

At the same time, additional reach and marketing heft will provide Doonee with useful visibility and accessibility in a marketplace where multiple offerings are vying for consumer attention, including domestic hopefuls such as Primetime and Hollywood HD as well as two regional players, Hooq and Iflix.

Holding course

Doonee charges Bt150 (US$4.6)/month, more expensive than some other players, but lower than others. CEO Joe Suteestarpon is confident that the pricing is right, projecting breakeven after another two years.

“If the price point is right, you stay with it,” he tells Media Business Asia. “If you set the price point too low, you will suffer forever.”

The goal is to be at least one of the services that Thais will subscribe to, even if another service leads the market. “Users will select one or two players,” Joe says.

The company is open to a wide range of partnerships, tying up with local broadcasters to offer catch-up services as well as other paid services such as Samsung Showtime and AIS Movie Store.

“We don’t want to see other players as competitors,” Joe says. “The market is at a very early stage. We can work together with anyone who approaches us.”

At the same time, Joe wants to step up Doonee’s content spend, including on local programming, with talks underway about possible third party investment in the platform to accelerate its plans.

Nonetheless, Doonee will struggle to compete on the size of its library alone.

“We need to increase the volume of content, but it’s not everything,” Joe says.

“If you don’t do anything else, you compete with piracy, which is not a wise thing to do. We must improve other features, marketing and deliver the best experience.”

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