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Content catalogue, brand awareness major achievements of Hoichoi: Vishnu Mohta

Mohta says Hoichoi brings new energy to the parent company.

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MUMBAI: The opportunities for OTT players to flourish in the regional market may be huge. But challenges still keep players out. In the Bengali field, we have SVF-backed Hoichoi, nearing its one year anniversary.

At the new juncture, it is strengthening its presence in other potential markets with enough Bengali speaking population. Hoichoi(http://www.indiantelevision.com/iworld/over-the-top-services/hoichoi-to-...) co-founder Vishnu Mohta sees its content catalogue and brand awareness as the biggest achievements in the first year.

Bangladesh and the UAE are two markets Hoichoi is looking at for international expansion due to the Bengali speaking crowd as well as diaspora. The apps have been present there for a while but awareness is being done now.

Mohta thinks it has not done enough local activity, local marketing and personalisation to enable people to know about the platform. To get the pulse of the market he mentions the importance of proper local teams. “We have got an office in Bangladesh and already recruited a few people over there. We plan to do the same thing in the Middle East. So a combination of our own team, the right set of partners will help Hoichoi to reach as many people as possible in that local market,” he said.

The head of SVF’s new media section also mentions the need for on-ground activation, specific targeting, and influencer marketing in local markets. The two new markets demand different strategies. For Bangladesh, he thinks producing local content is a smart move, while for UAE they plan to work more on marketing, distribution. In UAE they want to be more precise, have local press releases, take help from biggest telcos for larger data and communication network.

For Bangladeshi market, it has already announced Dhaka Metro, a show directed by renowned Amitabh Reza Chaudhuri. Though Mohta did not reveal too much, he indicated that it might come up with more such shows. Accepting the fact that Bengals from the two sides of the border have different taste in content, he says the uniformity in language will let the problem not be critical.

In the one year of launch, Mohta realised the difference in Hoichoi not being available in Bengali. The lack of pay per view option was another issue. For a platform backed by SVF, having an option to watch movies on a-la-carte basis could bring huge money.

Now Hoichoi wants to take its content to other language speakers through dubbed versions. Though the plan seems very optimistic, it’s still in the ideation stage. Dubbed versions could be available on platforms like Airtel TV. After testing the water with a selected number of people, it will take it to a larger level.

Byomkesh, Dupur Thakurpo, Japani Toy, 6 and Holy Faak have emerged as the most popular shows in the last year which are returning for season two. Among the 30 originals, most of them will be released for binge watching while few, based on the nature of the show, will be launched in two-three episodes together.

Last year, Hoichoi(http://www.indiantelevision.com/iworld/over-the-top-services/bengali-ott...) created a buzz in the market with #Hoyejak campaign during Durga Puja. On 1 October, the platform is set to launch another campaign on the same lines to reap benefits from the festive season of Durgapuja again. The platform has a remarkable trend to create witty hashtag campaigns which go viral easily. “We are called Hoichoi(non-stop excitement) , if we don’t get Hoichoi, we are doing injustice,” Mohta says in a light mood giving credit to the in house social media team for the campaign.

While SVF’s magnitude in terms of financial profit is unquestionable, the young digital arm of it has a long way to go break even. Mohta says it brings a new energy to the parent company.

“SVF, the leader in this business, has been in the market for 22 years. We are still very young. It infuses that energy and newness to the overall ecosystem allowing us to constantly innovate and renew our content strategy. A film might release every month and Hoichoi has to be updated every day, every week. So that vibe transcends to SVF as a team and keeps the DNA very healthy today,” he commented.

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