Kolkata: Bengali video streaming platform Hoichoi, which was launched a year ago by SVF Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, is planning to expand its audience in rural areas by accepting offline subscriptions—a first for such online entertainment channels.

Hoichoi Technologies Pvt. Ltd will be selling top-up cards similar to ones sold by telecom companies for prepaid connections. The cards will be sold for subscriptions for 3-12 months. The aim was to reach out to masses in tier-II and tier-III cities, said Mahendra Soni, director and co-founder of Hoichoi.

In India, cash was still the dominant mode of payment, said another co-founder and director Shrikant Mohta. Hoichoi gets almost 40% of its subscribers from suburban and rural areas, according to Soni and Mohta. Within months, they are also planning to launch Hoichoi in neighbouring Bangladesh and the UAE.

The cost of receiving offline subscriptions would be similar to the digital channels, said Vishnu Mohta, another co-founder. The top-up cards would be sold through various channels, including movie theatres and malls run by SVF, he added.

In one year, Hoichoi has amassed a content library of 1,400 hours. Its app has been downloaded into 1 million devices, and streaming of videos in the past year exceeded 240 million minutes. Hoichoi is planning to double its content library within a year, according to Shrikant Mohta.

Hoichoi, which is backed by SVF, one of eastern India’s biggest production houses, will be producing 30 original series and 12 new films, all in Bengali. Also, Hoichoi will be acquiring the rights to some 200 Bengali films.