Taiwan’s LGBTQ Streamer GagaOOLala Launches Worldwide – Variety

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LGBTQ-focused streaming platform GagaOOLala formally launched worldwide Friday in all territories apart from China and North Korea. 

The streamer is backed by Taipei-based Portico Media, one of many co-founders of the Taiwan Worldwide Queer Movie Pageant. Its launch comes per week earlier than the one-year anniversary of the day Taiwan grew to become the primary in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

GagaOOLala is now out there worldwide for $6.99 a month. All movies at the moment are outfitted with English and Chinese language subtitles, with different languages pending as the corporate displays content material recognition in numerous areas. It debuts within the U.S. with round 300 titles to begin; in Taiwan, it has round 1,000 movies. 

Though a bit participant in comparison with the opposite giants within the world streaming wars, Portico Media CEO Jay Lin says he feels his platform has a distinct segment.

“In fact there are LGBT-focused providers in Europe and the U.S., however they’re nearly completely Western. There are only a few Asian titles, and if there are, they’re extra Asian American, or from a U.S.-centric or Western-centric viewpoint,” he factors out. “That is the primary time the place an OTT service is out there globally with such a excessive focus of Asian content material.”

GagaOOLala has lately begun producing its personal originals. These embody Taiwanese movie “The Instructor,” which gained Winnie Chang a Golden Horse Award final yr for greatest supporting actress, “Good-looking Stewardess,” the primary Singaporean sequence to star a lesbian couple, and “Sodom’s Cat,” one of many first Asian queer movies to depict a same-sex orgy.

The overwhelming majority of GagaOOLala’s content material hasn’t been distributed within the U.S. or Europe. The platform is providing round 30 titles for viewers to observe free of charge throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, together with Berlin Worldwide Movie Pageant Teddy Award Winner “Temporary Story from the Inexperienced Planet.”

A lot of the visitors the positioning at the moment will get is for its choices within the “boys’ love” style — homosexual content material widespread with straight ladies. It plans to proceed to mine the sector with extra content material sooner or later, however admits that the query might be whether or not they can get younger, straight ladies to department out to different varieties of movies as nicely.

“Once we have been doing analysis for potential companions, we have been astonished to seek out there are a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of individuals and social media teams all over the world which are obsessive about boys’ love — not simply in Asia,” says Lin. “This can be a new style that may proceed to develop.”

Key titles that GagaOOLala will launch within the subsequent months embody the supernatural BL trilogy “Ghost Boyfriend,” homosexual French thriller “7 Minutes,” and a Thai-Taiwanese co-produced homosexual love story “Current Nonetheless Good.” Helmed by Thai director Anusorn Soisa-ngim, its small-scale theatrical launch in Thailand was abruptly aborted in early March because of the novel coronavirus, which shut down cinemas days after its debut.

“It was form of a disastrous state of affairs for us in Bangkok, however luckily we’re in a position to now take this movie on to audiences all over the world,” says Lin.

GagaOOLala is now in its fourth yr, and has expanded step-by-step from Taiwan to Southeast Asia after which to South Asia. The main target now could be on larger, English-speaking territories, with roll-out focused at city areas the place there are overlapping communities of Asians and LGBTQ folks such because the Northern California Bay Space, Los Angeles and New York.

The staff has for now held again from coming into the biggest and most evident marketplace for Chinese language language content material: China. The nation’s strict censorship bans overtly homosexual content material, in addition to Google, which GagaOOLala’s app depends on.

However the platform troopers on. Lin says: “I hope we’ll be capable of create fascinating collaborations, co-production and tales that aren’t singularly of 1 nation or one area. That’s the long run objective, although there’s no actual map for how you can get there.”

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