Asia’s first-ever LGBT+ streaming site, dubbed ‘gay Netflix’, is going global to tap into coronavirus binge-watching


Asia’s first-ever LGBT+ streaming service is going global to tap into the millions of people binge-watching at home amid the coronavirus crisis.

The service is called GagaOOLala, a combination of two phrases for gay people in Taiwan, and provides unlimited access to LGBT+ films, TV shows and documentaries from around $6 a month.

The “gay Netflix” of Asia launched in 2017 and is currently available in 21 Asian countries, but will expand to more than 190 from early May.

“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” Jay Lin, head of Taipei-based Portico Media, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“When planning the rollout, we never anticipated this pandemic, with 3 billion or more people in quarantine or lockdown.”

Queer streaming service GaGaOOLala planned rollout to celebrate same-sex marriage anniversary.

Although the timing certainly seems convenient, the global rollout was originally intended to celebrate the anniversary of same-sex marriage passing in Taiwan.

To mark the date, GagaOOLala will stream a new documentary on same-sex marriage through the eyes of three couples from different generations.

The streaming service has also contacted LGBT+ film festivals that have been called off or postponed in the crisis to offer them a new audience.

GagaOOLala’s entertainment is categorised by sexuality and country as well as by genre, and also includes sections such as “Forbidden temptations”, “Understanding HIV”, “The edge of BDSM” and “50 shades of LUST”.

One of the categories on GagaOOLala

Its founder says the expansion is about more than profits, but media analysts expect demand to keep growing throughout the pandemic.

“We are finding a certain depth to the streaming video economy globally post-COVID-19  as customers burn through content and libraries and try out new services and consumption rapidly grows,” said Vivek Couto of the consulting and research firm Media Partners Asia.

“A big focus and glue amongst key communities is important with certain content, especially LGBT+, and this drives monetisation.”