The video streaming service has registered a growth in its subscriber base and international audience

While the pandemic has posed a challenge to the television and film industry, it has come as an opportunity for the Bengali online video streaming platform Hoichoi. The Bengali entertainment platform that completed three years of operation this September has registered an increase in revenue and revealed that 40% of the revenue comes from international subscribers.

Last week, the Bengali OTT (Over the Top) platform unveiled 25 web shows and two films — Kolkata Underground and Tiktiki — to be launched in the coming months.

Vishnu Mohta, co-founder of Hoichoi, told The Hindu that the platform has provided the Bengali diaspora an opportunity to connect to its roots through these productions.

“About 40% of our direct revenue is coming from international customers. We have subscribers in more than 100 countries including Japan, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland, where we did not think we would have much traffic,” he said. Mr. Mohta said that the OTT shows were a “ great way to connect” the Bengali community, as films and plays in the language may not be available in theatres in other countries.

Even since the lockdown, the platform has been showing a big spurt in growth on most matrices and the subscribers across all platforms are now 13 million. In recent months, it released nine world digital premiers of feature films and showcased the first direct-to-digital film release from eastern India.

Actors Swastika Mukherjee, Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Saswata Chatterjee and directors Srijit Mukherji and Mainak Bhaumik are some of the film personalities behind the programmes to be launched soon.

While the OTT platform celebrates different genres, thrillers and detective stories are high in demand. “The Bengali community always loves detective stories and thriller shows. Some of the most iconic characters like Feluda and Byomkesh have been detectives. This goes very well from an episodic point of view,” Mr Mohta added.

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