New Delhi: Media and entertainment firm Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) announced the launch of its over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, ZEE5, in more than 190 countries across the world. Except markets like China and the United States, the digital platform will now be present abroad across the Android, iOS and web formats.
ZEE5’s revenue model will depend on the specific market. While countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh will have a combination of AVoD (advertising video-on-demand) and SVoD (subscription video-on-demand) with introductory offers for the latter ranging from $2 to $10, others like the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands will work entirely on the subscription model.
“Our strategies will differ depending on the market," said Amit Goenka, chief executive officer, ZEE International and Z5 Global. “If we expect a large user base, it’ll be a freemium offering, and if it’s a smaller base we’ll go with an SVoD offering."
ZEE5, which offers movies, television shows, music and lifestyle videos across English, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi, initially plans to create differentiation based on Indian content provided with subtitles. Goenka said the group’s linear television initiatives had shown that many countries shared cultural affinity with India and were keen to watch Indian content as much as Hollywood.
“With the launch of ZEE5 globally, we intend owning the India peg completely and being the unequivocal go-to destination for Indian content for South Asians and beyond wherever they may be," said Archana Anand, chief business officer, ZEE5 Global.
Goenka added that starting next April, there would be an effort to reach out to mainstream audiences in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Russia with content specifically tailored to suit their tastes through dubbing. ZEEL might decide to produce local content in these countries much later. To strengthen distribution, ZEEL plans to partner local telecom companies and payments firms in each of these countries.
“Our strength lies in the depth and breadth of content we offer across Indian languages. That’s what we believe can be a huge differentiator, especially with the south Asian diaspora. Whether it’s Netflix or Amazon, while they have some Indian content, it’s not like ours," Goenka said. “We wanted to cater to all our audiences globally in one shot. Once we start dubbing and producing content for foreign audiences, we will be competing with the local OTT players in those countries."