Continuously launching content targeted at different taste clusters ensures good retention: ZEE5's Aparna Acharekar

Franchises will play a key role in ZEE5’s 2020 content strategy.

Aparna Acharekar

MUMBAI: Among the home-grown over-the-top platforms, ZEE5 has shown most aggression in creating its original content library. As a part of its content strategy for the upcoming year, franchises will play a key role along with a line-up of nearly 20 original films.

“We’ve lined-up enough shows till March 20-21 with backup shows too. This 20-21 is going to be huge. If 19-20 was big then 20-21 is going to be bigger and I don’t know how 21 -22 will be,” ZEE5 India programming head Aparna Acharekar shares ecstatically.

The OTT platform plans to focus on its franchise shows. “Franchise will be key to content strategy. So, some of our successful shows from 18-19 and 19-20 will go into new seasons. Some new shows will be introduced as now we have acquired newer taste clusters and new audiences. Every month we will have series, films and regional content launch. This is in addition to all the commercial movie acquisitions,” she adds further.

Sharing her understanding of the Indian audience, she notes that the platform looks at audiences from the point of view of taste clusters rather than classifying them demographically. According to her, it’s not really about one type of content and audience is not behind one genre. There are shows which do well across age groups and cities. Moreover, she also mentions that tastes also evolve over a period of time. According to her, people are happy to sample all sorts of genres.

“OTT is now maturing. It’s really now not so early for us but the Indian consumer is happy to pay for content. The Indian consumer wants good engaging content so all the fear we always had around whether the Indian consumer will pay or is it only free audience, I think that is over. The industry need not worry about it anymore as Indian consumers are happy to pay for good content. He is value-conscious but at the same time if there is enough interesting content for him he is happy to take a long term subscription also,” she says.

According to her, from a consumer retention point of view, consistent releases and a good line up for all sorts of taste clusters is very important. “Continuously launching content targeted at different taste clusters ensure that there is good retention on a platform and then, of course, the complete convenience, the experience of making payment easy is also important,” she adds.

Re-emphasising the regional boom in OTT, she said that regional audiences give healthy responses to OTT.  They not only consume content of their language but also happily adopt content dubbed in their language.

“We have seen very good adoption of ZEE5 because we also give consumers an option to change the display language of the app. So if somebody is not comfortable navigating in English, he can change the display language to Hindi, Tamil or Telugu or any of the 12 different Indian languages we offer and we have seen a great uptake for that also. In fact, with every passing month, we see more uptake of this and the relative share of English as a display language going down,” she adds.

The challenge of finding good scripts and writers is still there. There are good content makers but it is difficult to learn the art of the writing for the medium. Writing for a 400-minute series is like a two-hour-long movie. Additionally, every episode needs to be engaging.

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