Bengali-Language Streamer Hoichoi Reveals 30-Strong Slate, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, Middle East Expansion Plans (EXCLUSIVE)

Hoichoi, an Indian streaming company which specializes in Bengali-language content, has revealed plans for a 30-strong 2022 slate.  It also has expansion plans for Bangladesh, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Operated by leading studio SVF Entertainment, Hoichoi was launched in 2017. Indian titles on the slate include Sayantan Ghosal’s detective drama “Gora,” starring Ritwick Chakraborty; the seventh season of detective franchise “Byomkesh,” by Soumik Halder, starring Arjun Chakrabarty; Sani Ghosh Ray’s adaptation of literary classic “Srikanto”; Anirban Bhattacharya’s “Macbeth” adaptation “Mandaar”; Anjan Dutt’s cop drama “Khyapar Shohor”; and another detective caper, as yet untitled, from popular filmmaker Srijit Mukherjee.

There are plans for nine originals from Bangladesh. These include Amitabh Reza Chowdhury’s “Bodh,” revolving around a judge; Syed Ahmed Shawki’s prison drama “Karagar”; and Sankhya Dasgupta’s father-son drama “Boli.”

Hoichoi is doubling its investment in content and, with the addition of the new slate, will have more than 100 originals streaming by the end of 2022. Some 50 new films will be added to its 600-strong film library.

While Hoichoi declined to reveal subscriber numbers, active monthly users have doubled over the past year, the company said. In India, the service costs INR599 ($8.15) annually and in Bangladesh BDT500 ($5.87) per year. Hoichoi has also introduced “Freemium,” which allows users to stream some branded content for free.

The streamer’s plan is to target the 266 million Bengali-language speakers around the world. Besides India and Bangladesh, Hoichoi is available in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada. The streamer plans to deepen its engagement in Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia and Singapore, where a substantial Bangladeshi migrant worker population lives.

The business plan calls for bundling of the service by local telecoms providers. Current partnerships include: JioFibre, Airtel XStream, Alliance, Wishnet, Meghbela in India; Link3 and Grameenphone in Bangladesh; and Sohoj in Malaysia. Discussions are on with more telecoms companies in the region and in the Middle East.

Hoichoi’s Western subscriber base, where monthly rates are equal to annual rates in Asia, already accounts for 30% of direct subscription revenue and discussions are on to curate a differentiated content mix for those markets.

Hoichoi content is already dubbed into Hindi and it will be dubbed into the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam languages going forward.

Mahendra Soni, co-founder of SVF and Hoichoi said: “It has been enthralling to feel the love and support Hoichoi has received, in both the regional and as well as national OTT space in the span of the past four years. The thing that has made it possible for Hoichoi to build its diverse audience base is its relevant and dynamic content, that Hoichoi has been committed in delivering for the last four years. As we step into the fifth year, the goal is to curate more remarkable content in collaboration with the best creators and talents of the industry.”

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