Mr. Vishnu Mohta, Co-Founder, hoichoi
Founded in 2017, hoichoi is the maiden venture of SVF under its new media section and is headed by Co-Founder Vishnu Mohta who is also the Executive Director of SVF.
hoichoi is a leading Bengali entertainment platform with over 2,000+ hours of Movies, exclusive Original Series, Songs, Music Videos, and more. With an aims to bring Bengali content globally and connect the 250+ million Bengalis residing worldwide. As they are completing their three years of existence in the industry, they are celebrating with hoichoi Season 4.
We took a chance to interact with Mr. Vishnu Mohta around the event, Season 4. We had a word about their content, technology, and their latest offerings for the customer. Stay tuned and read the full interview here:
Q) hoichoi is completing 3 years in the industry. How was the journey throughout?
It has been the most rewarding journey of my professional life. In three years, I have covered many grounds. I have learned so many things that I was not exposed to earlier. Being very passionate about great content and technology, I am able to enjoy these in hoichoi. Now that it’s been 3 years, there is a big way to take the next leap as far as everything is concerned on the platform. I am very excited about what’s coming in the future.
Q) What new shows are there on the platform?
There are 25 shows that are releasing on the platform today. We are also revealing two first day first show movies, Kolkata Underground and Tiktiki. Regarding the shows, I believe this is the best content lined up so far. A lot more content is being created. We also had the opportunity to work with good directors and writers. We managed to use the lockdown period to get script and pre-production etc. It was a great opportunity to work and reflect on what we can do to make it better in the coming year.
Q) Are there any other films on First Day First Show?
Yes, a lot more movies are on the way. Once we are ready with the entire team, we’ll bring on the details. Dhrubo Banerjee, Srijit Mukherji is already there with us doing some brilliant work. Some of the very big names who we always wanted to work with. So now finally we got a chance to work with them. Looking forward!
Q) What are you doing to regulate content on the platform?
Each of the companies has its own way of standards and practices for how to classify the content. It just makes it more transparent and clear. We have appointed a committee, who will review and address a customer query. We are making sure to give you all that you are signed up for.
Q) What is your take on Self Regulation Code on OTT platforms?
I think it’s a phenomenal amount of work that is being done by the IAMAI and the community to get everybody on the same platform, which is the unified code. That is applicable to all the OTT players in the country now. Everybody signed up for it. And the fact is everybody’s standards-aligned. At the same time, customers are offered a democratic option to flag any content that they feel is not appropriately classified in whatever way they think they have classified it. At the same time, we’ll be very transparent about things. This is a very important step to look forward to.
Q) What are you doing to mark your footprint among the customers?
We at hoichoi always believe in content first coupled with technology and great customer support. The best way to reward the trust of people as they are paying for it is to provide the content. On the technology front, we are revamping our user interface/ user experience. We have never changed in three years. So, fundamentally it was a time to adapt everything that is possible. This will go live by the end of this year.
There is also a Parental Control feature which will allow people to set up a code for any content. Like 13+ code or 16+ code. So this way you can control any content that you think might not appropriate for a child under 13 in your family. This will also go live in a few days.
Q) What is your distribution plan?
We are going live with Telecom Billing for the customers of Middle East and Bangladesh very shortly, probably the end of this year. We are also doing some Bundling arrangements with some leading telecom companies in Bangladesh. The Subscription Bundling option is also available for customers in India with JioFibre. Carrier Billing has been put into an option. It allows you to micropayment. One doesn’t need a debit or credit card; you can buy hoichoi subscription for a week or a month with your mobile balance. Hoichoi is now available on all TV platforms like Amazon Firestick, Android TV, Apple TV, Mi LED TV, LG SMART TV, Samsung TV, and Roku.
Q) In the current scenario when everybody is stuck at home, OTT platforms are becoming the new theatre. Do you think they can eradicate the existence of theatres somewhere in the near future?
Not at all. I don’t think so. I think the out of the home experience is extremely important. In fact, I am planning to go to the cinema hall and watch the latest films also. You can’t have home-cooked food every day you have to go outside also (smiles). I firmly believe the theatrical experience is not going anywhere. I think the films that release in theatres are actually gone bigger on OTT as there’s a lot of buzz and marketing already happened. Film reviews, promotions, and all these things have already been done for that particular film. We as the parent company has decided that we’ll release our films in the theatre only.