Asia’s first LGBTQ streaming platform is going global.
According to The Thomas Reuters Foundation, GagaOOLala, which is a combination of two phrases for gay people in Taiwan, is planning to expand in early May. While the streaming service currently serves 21 countries in Asia, the platform is planning to expand to more than 190 countries next month.
The reason for this expansion is twofold:
- The company had planned this development some time ago. With business succeeding so well in its original countries of service, the company has decided to expand into new markets. Frankly, there is always a need for LGBTQ representation, but there’s an even greater need for QPOC representation. Then even further, representation for LGBTQ Asian people is even rarer. GagaOOLala is hoping to fill that gap.
- We are currently experiencing a pandemic. Because of the coronavirus, many people are stuck at home and in need of entertainment. This has created a great opportunity for streaming services to establish themselves and validate their worth. While the expansion was always in the works, GagaOOLala finds itself in an unfortunate but prime spot for expanding its business.
“With the LGBT community especially isolated – especially if they are living by themselves and not welcomed by family – we hope this provides relief, distraction and entertainment,” said Jay Lin, head of Taipei-based Portico Media, to Reuters.
“When planning the rollout, we never anticipated this pandemic, with 3 billion or more people in quarantine or lockdown,” Lin added.
Lin also shared that GagaOOLala’s expansion was planned for May because it is the one-year anniversary of Taiwan becoming the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. The streaming platform will also release a new documentary about gay marriage and marriage equality. The program will cover these topics by following three same-sex couples from different generations.
In addition, GagaOOLala has reached out to LGBTQ film festivals that were canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Their hope is to create a space where indie films cannot only be released but reach new audiences.
“A lot of (LGBT+) organisations are thinking about what event or part of Pride can go online,” said Raymond Phang, co-founder of the ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival, which is still considering whether to postpone.
“Film streaming is definitely one of the best – you can do it at home, it’s entertaining, and its a good way to keep diversity conversations going on,” added Phang.
Again, GagaOOLala is expected to release globally in early May. The streaming platform currently holds more than 1000 titles. This includes Asian queer cinema but also international favorites from Canada, the U.S.A., Mexico, and more. This includes international hits like Blue is the Warmest Color, Moonlight, Front Cover, José, and more. In addition, GagaOOLala is available via its website or mobile apps. You can register to access a small section of its selection for free or you can get unlimited access for $6 per month.
As for available languages, the site currently runs on English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Then, there are multiple languages available for viewing with subtitles. But with the platform looking to expand to over 190 countries, there should be an expansion of languages for the user interface and subtitles upon or after expansion. Unfortunately, no specifics have been given at this time. We’ll update you when we know more.