As the COVID-19 pandemic brought massive challenges to practically all industries, services such as OTT platforms, that cater to people staying at home, have seen an increase in popularity and had hugely benefited from city-wide lockdowns around the world. Watching films at home, and not in theaters, became the global trend in 2020. Asia’s first LGBTQ+ and BL streaming service, GagaOOLala, also experienced the effects of the pandemic seeing a huge increase in market demand, specially after it launched its service globally in May 2020, becoming Taiwan’s first global streaming platform.
Global launch brings a 212% increase in registrations
GagaOOLala officially launched its services globally in May 2020, expanding from the 21 countries/regions in South and Southeast Asia to an overall 230 countries around the globe, resulting in a surprising 212% increase in registrations on the platform. Total GagaOOLala subscriptions skyrocketed by 234%, with members joining from 144 different countries, with 80% of them subscribing for the first time in 2020. The Philippines is among the largest markets, and the USA is the fastest growing one since the global launch. Per popular demand, the platform has incorporated new payment methods in different territories such as PayPal and GCash.
Original series about the pandemic brings record traffic
2020 is the year where GagaOOLala has launched more original content including 5 Lessons in Happiness, Present Still Perfect, The Teacher, BL: Broken Fantasy, and Unlocked. These titles helped the website traffic rise 105%, with total film views exceeding 2.4 million and the total watching time increasing by a 60%. Unlocked, a 9-episode anthology series following gay characters during the quarantine in the Philippines generated record breaking traffic and registrations in the platform after its release in July. The title Unlocked became a hot keyword in many English-speaking countries including the Philippines and the USA.
The BL wave arrives at GagaOOLala with total views multiplying by 7
GagaOOLala also benefited from another popular trend in Asia during 2020: BL content. With acquisitions of key titles from various Asian countries, such as the sweet Taiwanese series Craving You and short film Innocent, Korean thriller Long Time No See, Chinese office drama Capture Lover, trending Filipino web series In Between, and Thai sequel Present Still Perfect, the BL wave caused a big splash on GagaOOLala and this genre’s views multiplied up to 7 times in 2020.
While GagaOOLala aims to cater the LGBTQ+ community with all types of family-friendly content, some of its riskier titles like the Korean film One Summer Night, or the Japanese The Shortest Distance is Round became the top searched titles of the platform on Google. In addition to the Asian region and the USA, and after the inclusion of Spanish subtitles in the platform, the search numbers in South American countries like Mexico and Brazil, increased notably. GagaOOLala was searched on Google up to 25% more than the year before.
2020 rankings show the different tastes in gays and lesbians, with erotic dramas sitting at the top
Among the most watched titles in GagaOOLala during 2020, we can see that gay men have more of a preference for coming-of-age films such as 5 Lessons in Happiness: Little Man, Fragile Souls, and Jay; and erotic dramas like Military Dog, adapted from a BDSM novel, south American film The Third One, and the aforementioned One Summer Night, and The Shortest Distance is Round. On the sides, in the lesbian ranking, Handsome Stewardess, a GagaOOLala original series from 2019, remains an all-time favourite. Short films such as 5 Lessons in Happiness: Throuple from Taiwan and the Korean series More than or Equal to 75C also made it to the chart, showing that lesbian audience prefer light and quirky comedies.