ZEE5 plans more show franchises, to invest in direct-to-digital movies

The partnership with ALTBalaji has doubled the content output every single month.


MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s (ZEEL) digital arm ZEE5 has built its library on the back of marquee properties and regional content since the time of its entry in the burgeoning over-the-top (OTT) ecosystem. After hitting the audience with a number of popular original shows and direct-to-digital movies, the platform is planning to bring more franchises like Rangbaaz. Moreover, while ZEE5 will continue to invest in buying movies, the platform is also planning to invest more in direct-to-digital movies.

“Among the few things we have learnt, the first is that we want to bring more franchises. We are making follow-up seasons of some of the bigger shows like Rangbaaz and The Final Call,” ZEE5 India CEO Tarun Katial said in an interaction with Indiantelevision.com.

“The other thing we have been able to do is an extension of existing TV show library. We did Subhan Allah into Ishq Ajkal, we did Jamai Raja into Jamai 2.0. There’s a lot more treasure in the ZEE library. Also, we have seen a very successful direct-to-digitals. While we will continue to invest in buying movies, this is a getaway to hedge cost and build own IPs. So, we are planning to invest more in direct-to-digital movies,” he added.

Katial also noted that while the platform started the year with the commitment of creating one of the largest libraries of regional content in the country, ZEE5 consistently created content not only Hindi content but  also content in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, and even in Kannada.

Katial also mentioned that among all the regional markets, the “film and original crazy” Telugu market has been doing amazingly well. As he shared, the Tamil market is also doing well after Telugu while Kannada has been a very surprising market, one of their fastest-growing markets in the regional sphere.

While all three of these markets have regional packs, some of the users who first buy into the regional packs in Telugu and Kannada markets upgrade themselves into an all-access pack to consume some of the Hindi originals and Hindi movies. Hence, the regional packs have acted as a good entry point for consumers to sample ZEE5 and then eventually to upgrade into full subscription packages.

ZEE5 also entered into an unusual content partnership with ALTBalaji in July to co-create original content which are available on both the platforms. Katial said that the partnership has doubled the content output every single month. He also added that it allows them to talk to different taste clusters and build certain amount of velocity behind moving, upgrading consumers from AVOD to SVOD.

ZEE5 also broadened a lot of technology partners across the world this year. “It has been able to give us a strong collaborative recommendation engine, a consumer data platform that can engage with our consumers real-time and to be able to trigger consumption and as well as trigger updates and subscriptions that we can understand and communicate in their language, need and requirement,” he said.

Katial also added that they noticed over a period of time that product and user journey needed to be enhanced. Hence, the platform has launched a plethora of new apps on smart TV devices with new UI, new subscription journeys enhancing its ability to onboard new users more easily. In addition to that, he noted that ZEE5 has been able to invest in data sciences this year helping them to add a fair amount of user knowledge to improve decision making, ability to create content and user experiences and more importantly to take long-term decisions on different kind of product cases.

“The strength of market lies in two things. One is the device-ecosystem which is growing extremely well not only just on the mobile side but also on the smart-TV side. And the other is the growth of the data consumption story and video consumption is the largest part of data consumption. These are the two indicators of why Indians are going to consume more digital video and with that there will be better opportunities both on the ad-supported side as well as on the subscription side,” he commented on how the overall ecosystem has fared. 

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