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As regional content explodes, Hoichoi eyes 60-80% revenue growth in FY22

The Bengali OTT platform has doubled its content investment this year.

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KOLKATA: In the last couple of years, Hoichoi has been in the limelight for its bold moves in the regional over-the-top (OTT) segment. The Bengali streaming service revealed its cumulative subscriber base had breezed past the 13 million-mark on the third anniversary of its launch. To boost its user base further, the platform has recently announced a stellar content line-up for 2021, with 18 fresh stories.

This year’s line-up is a leap from what the platform did last year, especially from a story point of view, Hoichoi co-founder Vishnu Mohta said. The streamer had the opportunity to work with a number of renowned directors, filmmakers and a lot of other marquee talents, he highlighted. Hence, the platform has doubled down on content investment as compared to before.

Talking heads are enthused about the regional space, as reports have indicated that the share of language content will increase to around 50 per cent of overall OTT consumption, up from 30 per cent in 2019. Hence, a wider library will drive more subscribers to Hoichoi as the Bengali OTT market is still largely unpenetrated by major OTT platforms in terms of original content.

The Bengali streaming service has set its sights on aggressive direct subscriber acquisition this year. “This year we have changed our strategy a little bit. We are not trying to syndicate our content. We were on the biggest telco players; our content was available as syndicated content. Now we have decided that our content will not be available on syndication from this year, it will only be bundled with aggregators like Jio Fiber or other big ISPs. The acquisition has to be direct,” Mohta explained.

The rationale behind the move is that ARPU is much higher through direct subscribers who pay around Rs 500 every year. According to Mohta, the platform has put together a good line-up to excite customers to pay for original content. Currently, revenue from direct subscriptions stands around 50 per cent for Hoichoi. With greater emphasis on direct acquisition, Mohta is hopeful Hoichoi’s revenue will go up at least 60-80 per cent in FY 22.

Acclaimed actors like Rahul Bose, Anirban Bhattacharya, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Swastika Mukherjee, Sohini Sarkar, and award-winning filmmakers such as Srijit Mukherji, Kamaleswar Mukherjee, Anjan Dutt are some of the popular faces behind this new line-up. In addition to episodic series like Byomkesh and Eken Babu, films like Tangra Blues, Golondaj, Prem Tame will premiere on Hoichoi.

Along with building up a diverse content portfolio, the OTT player has initiated a multi-dimensional promotional strategy as well. With a follower base of five-six million, the platform is leveraging its social media communities highly to promote new shows. To get more personal feedback, it has recently started calling every single customer to get their opinion on which show or film on the platform was to their liking, Mohta detailed.

Additionally, Hoichoi has recently introduced a refer and earn scheme for subscribers, he shared. The person who refers will get one month extension on existing subscription and the other person who joins based on the referral gets a 20 per cent discount.

Although digital payments growth has skyrocketed in India, there are still barriers to adoption of such services among certain sections. To overcome this obstacle, Hoichoi has started reaching out to different shops which sell mobile phones, accessories, telecom recharges to enable them to sell the platform’s subscriptions. This strategy, implemented in tier-3, tier-4 towns, allows people to subscribe to the platform through cash also.

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