As Bengali-language streaming service Hoichoi turns one, it will start selling top-up cards offline to sell subscriptions. Around 40% of Hoichoi’s viewers stream the service from ‘non-urban’ areas, the company said.

Hoichoi will also be producing 30 new shows and 12 new films for the platform over the next year, including a thriller by the provocative filmmaker Q, best known for films with explicit themes like Gandu. That will come out to a hundred new original hours of content, with a goal of doubling its catalogue to 2,800 hours.

The company also announced deeper promotion abroad, starting with Bangladesh and the UAE. Outside of India and Bangladesh, Hoichoi is priced at $8.99 a month, around thirteen times higher than its India pricing. Hoichoi is entirely subscription-based, and does not have any ads. The company claims that its viewers watch around one hour of content on average each day.

Hoichoi is owned by SVF, West Bengal’s largest production house. Vishnu Mohta, Hoichoi’s founder, said that the service aims to break even in the next four years. While the company did not make any announcements on subscriber count or revenue, Mohta said that it should be as big as its parent company in the next ten years.

The numbers

The company claims that:

  • Hoichoi has streamed over 240 million minutes in 2018
  • The app has been downloaded over a million times (no subscription counts were provided)
  • It will acquire 200 non-original films over the next year, in addition to the hundred plus hours of original content it plans to make
  • Right now, the service has “500+ Bengali movies, 50+ hours of exclusive Original Web Series (22 shows streaming now) and 1000+ songs”

The company has hired New York-based ViewLift for its streaming tech, and delivers video through Amazon Web Services. It plans to start dubbing its content in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Arabic.

Hoichoi has partnered with Airtel TV as an aggregator, as services like ALT Balaji and Eros Now already have. The service hasn’t announced plans to integrate with other telecom and hardware aggregators yet, even though it is available as an app on most mainstream streaming sticks and smart TV operating systems.