Backed by SVF (formerly known as Shree Venkatesh Films), Hoichoi, the over the top (OTT) app which focuses on Bengali content is planning to launch 30 original shows and 12 original films in the upcoming year.
The subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) platform also announced plans to double the overall content library to approximately 2800 hours in the next year by acquiring 200 Bengali movies, 12 of which will be world digital premieres. The content that would be available for the viewers would be across genres including fantasy, dark comedy, musical thriller, sitcom, travelogue, mystery, paranormal drama, kids, treasure hunt, psychological horror and others.
In the coming months, Hoichoi also has plans to launch in Bangladesh and UAE markets. The platform has also introduced a pay-per-view model which means newly released movies will be coming on Hoichoi soon after their theatrical release, giving national and international users an exclusive chance to watch them.
The OTT platform will launch its first web series - 'Dhaka Metro' - for the Bangladeshi audience soon. It will be directed by Amitabh Reza Chaudhuri.
Talking about the challenges, Vishnu Mohta, director and co-founder of Hoichoi, says, "We have been in this business for one year now and there have been challenges on all fronts because we have tried to go as fast as we can. We keep getting feedback from the audience in terms of content, features they want to have in the app, payments etc."
He adds, "We released about 22 original shows and six original films. So, from a content catalogue perspective, we have done a remarkable job in the last year and I think, going forward, we plan to increase that. From that front, the challenge is to keep the consumers excited about what we are trying to do and being the market leader, we also need to educate people in terms of the ability to watch original shows and movies on the internet."
About launching Hoichoi in Bangladesh and UAE markets, Mohta, says, "We had also stated that Hoichoi wants to cater to the 250 million plus Bengalis living across the globe and expanding our footprint into Bangladesh and the Middle East is an important step in that direction. These are markets with a potential of more than 180 million customers. While expansion into Bangladesh, through local payment gateways, is a natural decision to reach a wider audience, entry into the Middle East is aimed at connecting with the huge migrant Bengali population living in the Arabian Peninsula nation. We intend to keep delighting our audiences worldwide."
Kolkata, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai are strong markets from which Hoichoi gets viewership. The platform sees an average of 60 minutes spent per viewer.
Speaking about the pay-per-view feature, Mohta explains, "One key pain-point of the industry is that Bengali movies, in general, don't get a theatrical release outside of some key territories outside West Bengal and we see that as a big enabler in giving movies to our audience, wherever they might be located, as close to the release as possible."
Hoichoi currently has a library of over 1400 hours of content including 500+ Bengali movies, 50+ hours of exclusive Original Web Series (22 shows streaming now) and 1000+ songs to serve the entertainment needs of Bengali audiences globally. It also launched its Fire TV and Apple TV apps for TV viewing audiences. Hoichoi is powered by ViewLift, the international content distribution platform and Amazon Web Services.
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