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Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL.

Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL.

Zee launches new digital distribution platform

Zee launches new digital distribution platform

Mumbai: Zee New Media, the digital arm of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), has launched a distribution platform to beam live television content from different channels that’s being marketed as an app and also being sold through prepaid cards, among other avenues.

Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL.

The number of channels will rise to 50 from 21 now in the next eight months and 100 by the year-end, provided Zee is able to reach deals with other broadcast groups.

“It is a subscription-based (service) currently, but we will in time incorporate advertising messages," said ZEEL managing director and chief executive officer Punit Goenka. “Along with the India launch, Ditto TV will be available in the UK, UAE, New Zealand and Australia. The US will also follow in a few months."

Subscribers can create their own channel bouquets, said Vishal Malhotra, business head, new media, ZEEL. “Different price points offer absolute control of channel selection, with prices starting as low as 49" a month for three channels, he said.

ZEEL has partnered with Siemens Communications for the technology that drives the platform. The Ditto TV app is available in the iTunes, Android and BlackBerry app stores. Prepaid cards will be retailed at stores such as Croma and Vijay Sales. ZEEL will also announce a partnership with a television maker, Goenka said.

Star India Pvt. Ltd announced a similar venture three months ago that involves converting its Indya.com website into a digital distribution platform that will also show content from rival broadcasters and generate revenue largely through subscriptions.

Star had said at the time that it was in talks with ZEEL and MSM on showing their content on Indya.com, on the lines of Hulu.com, one of the largest digital distribution platforms in the US.

Goenka said the firm is still in talks with Star as well as other broadcasters for Ditto TV. He added that ZEEL would be interested in featuring its content on Star’s platform as well. Star officials were unavailable for comment.

The site will need to offer more to be attractive to subscribers, said Prasanth Mohanachandran, founder of digital company AgencyDigi.

“One can’t access individual soaps on this platform," he said, adding that it’s restricted to broadcasters and needs to be opened to producers of content.

Back-to-back episodes of Seinfeld, for instance, aren’t available, he said. “Also, a lot of the news companies that have partnered with ZEEL have their own websites where streaming of content is free."

anushree.m@livemint.com

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