Data has made us richer in thinking and approach: ZEE5’s Aparna Acharekar

The platform will capitalise its success from the last two years.


MUMBAI: Data, touted as the new oil, has empowered creativity, especially in the segment of over-the-top (OTT) platforms. As audiences across the country are spoilt with options, streaming engines are integrating data massively in content strategy. ZEE5 India programming head Aparna Acharekar is also of the view that data has made the platform richer in thinking and approach, bringing a change in the decision-making of starting new projects as well as in content strategy.

"Data is the first benchmark. It is the ammunition we have. Data is the new oil that runs the entire industry. The process is not different because all of these choices. Then again whether it is acquisition or buying, your filters will have to be the same,” she said.

In a freewheeling chat with us, Acharekar, the mastermind behind all the great content ZEE5 is churning out explained how the decision-making process changed from what it was a couple of years ago. She also threw light on the evolution of the content strategy looking back at 2019 as time goes forward.

While earlier a lot of commissioning was based on overall knowledge of what consumers in OTT want, now on the back of data they are noticing what each consumer likes. While ZEE5 has an enormous library of originals alongside catch-up content from the network, it’s important to keep a track of what a consumer is liking to retain him on the platform.

According to her, last year the trends they picked up was different consumer sets and consumer tastes rather than the genres. She also added that most of the platforms have gone beyond from this typical thing of genres.

“More than clear genres emerging as viewers, clear consumer taste evolved as viewers because at ZEE5 we tried out everything. We didn’t go after one genre because very early on we realised that if you go after any one type of content then you will get only one type of people, who are watching that type of content at multiple different sources. So for me to widen my base I have to keep attracting people who like different things,” she added.

She also explained how the business and content strategy collide.

“If two taste clusters overlap then we will make something that both of you like. The most valuable customer for us is the one who likes multiple things. If you are very rigid you are important for me but you give me less value. The ARPU I get from you is less. Content strategy is derived from business strategy,” she added.

One big driver for the platform this year will be taking forward successful shows into the next seasons while the trend has been already set with Rangbaaz Phirse. As in last two years, the platforms have already set a base, now it plans to capitalise on all the wins that it had in the earlier seasons.

“It is more of an evolution, not a change,” she commented on ZEE5's content strategy for 2020.

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