The platform ramped up its production of original content this year, making its first Thai film, its first lesbian feature film in Japan and a Germany-Spain co-production.
“As we have developed…, we have realized that actually a lot of Asians also want to see Asian faces, and watch Asian stories and watch films take place in places or cities that they’re familiar with,” said Lin.
For streamers focusing on niche areas like GagaOOLala, original shows are key to building their brands.
Lin said interest in the platform jumped after the recent release of the “Handsome Stewardess”, a series about a Taiwanese, tomboyish lesbian who takes a job as a flight attendant to pursue her new love interest to Singapore.
“The Teacher”, another original about a gay educator who is in love with an HIV-positive married man, also proved a hit, bagging best-supporting actress at the Golden Horse awards, dubbed the Chinese-language “Oscars”.
GagaOOlala is not alone in relying on original content to draw in viewers and boost its profile.
Bryan Seah, head of original productions at Southeast Asia-focused streamer Hooq, said people felt “pride” at seeing local performers on screen.
Viewers were sending a message that “I want to see my favorite Indonesian actor, I want to see my favorite Filipino director, fronting something that has the scale and ambition to match the best Korean content”, he said.