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Hoichoi to venture into pay-per-view, offline payment method

It has planned to add more than 100 hours of original content

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MUMBAI: SVF, the big name in Bengali entertainment industry, last year launched its Bengali OTT platform Hoichoi riding the wave of digital growth.  In the second season of its journey, it is expanding its footprint into Bangladesh and UAE market. Though dependent on the SVOD model since birth, it will now introduce pay per view model as well. Moreover, in a first of its kind move in the industry, it has launched Hoichoi Top Up card which will be available in nearest retailers or upcoming Hoichoi kiosks. Given the preference for cash payment, this is an offline payment method.

Along with a new payment method and business plans, it has the ambition to add more than 100 hours of original content in the upcoming year. The new content pipeline includes 30 original shows, some of which are second seasons of popular web series already aired on the platform. While SVF, the parent company has a rich history in the Bengali film industry, the digital venture aims to add 12 original films.

Hoichoi co-founder Vishnu Mohta mentioned the high user engagement of the app though kept mum on subscriber numbers. He claims the average time spent in-app is one hour per day. It is not certain how the company has been able to get its return but the awareness of Hoichoi has been created.

Like other OTT platforms, Hoichoi is also seeing traffic from tier-II and III cities. In addition to that, almost 40 per cent of the audience comes from non-urban areas and Hoichoi director and co-founder Mahendra Soni mentions this as the rationale behind introducing offline payment method.

While Bengali industry makes many good films, the natives living outside Bengal don’t get the chance to watch them in theatres often. The plan of digital premiere is aimed to bridge this gap. “In yet another first in the Bengali entertainment space, we are now introducing the ‘pay per view’ feature as part of the TVoD model. We will be releasing movies on Hoichoi very soon after their theatrical release and the viewers will have the option to pay for the content on an a-la-carte basis,” Hoichoi director and co-founder Shrikant Mohta said.

A partnership with Airtel TV in India, Robi in Bangladesh and Etisalat and du in UAE have also been struck.

There is also a plan for a Bengali app and website interface making it more comfortable for users. Simultaneously, Hoichoi wants to dub the shows into other languages like Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. To position it more strongly as a brand, the platform also start merchandising.

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