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Featured Image: (Left to right) Shrikant Mohta, Vishnu Mohta, and Mahendra Soni at the launch event in Kolkata. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 20 September: USHERING in a new era in Bengal’s entertainment industry, Kolkata today witnessed the launch of India’s first ever Bengali digital content platform for film, TV, and music.

This is akin to Hotstar or Amazon Prime that offer audio-visual content in several languages for a price, but will be free of advertisements.

Hoichoi, as it has been named, is the world’s largest digital content platform in Bengali entertainment, its owner Shree Venkatesh Films (SVF) claimed during the launch event at a hotel in the city.

Accessible through mobile apps for android and IOS, and also on a namesake website, Hoichoi has begun its journey with a bouquet of original web-series and over 500 Bengali movies that includes classics like Panther Panchali, Jalsaghar, Chiriakhana, Meghe Dhaka Tara and recent ones like Rajkahini, Chotuskone.

Bengali songs, around 1,000 numbers, will be added to the platform in the next three months. The promoters also plan to include short-films and documentaries to the platform.

Vishnu Mohta, the executive director of Hoichoi, said that they have been working on this project for the past one year keeping in mind the need of 25-crores Bengalis living worldwide.

“The beauty of digital platform is that they do not have limitations of geography and time and people can access them anytime, anywhere and on any device linked to the Internet,” he said, declining to divulge the amount of money that they have invested in Hoichoi.

“All we can say at this point is that we are looking at a four-year time frame to achieve a break even. We have started with over 500 movies and have plans to add 100 movies per annum, making it the largest entertainment content provider in Bengali,” Vishnu said.

About 90 per cent of the content for Hoichoi will be acquired from other production houses and the remaining will be produced in-house by SVF, he said. “We have a 30-member team to curate and supervise the content, while ViewLift is technology service provider.”

Co-founder Shrikant Mohta, known for production of Bengali movies and TV serials, said that the unparalleled creative freedom has drawn him to the digital mode of disseminating of entertainment content.

“With the world moving to mobile, we decided to diversify into digital content. The creative freedom this space offers is unparalleled,” Shrikant said. “We are offering a promotional subscription at only Rs 149, Rs 249, and Rs 399 for three, six, and 12 months, respectively. This comes to less than Re 1.10 a day in case of the 12 month plan.”