Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global

Zipping across the world – Zee5 Global’s Chief Business officer Archana Anand chats with ILP

ILP: You’ve been at the helm of Zee5’s international foray into 190 countries across the globe barring China and the US. Tell us about some of your early learnings.

Archana Anand (AA): It’s very early days yet as we’re just getting started with our campaigns but we’re seeing some superb traction so far. We launched our brand campaign ‘Dil Se Desi’ in November, officially announcing our arrival in APAC, MENA and Africa. This campaign taps into the insight that Indians and South Asians today, wherever they are, are fundamentally rooted in and proud of their culture, and are ‘Dil Se Desi’.

Our campaign vibrantly celebrates this emotion and has been wonderfully received among the South Asian diaspora across countries. We’ve also announced some key partnerships like Netrange, Zeasn etc that will help us reach millions of viewers across APAC, MENA and Africa. We have several more such partnership announcements lined up over the next few weeks. Our sponsorship of Northern Warriors as a new team in the Sharjah T-10 league helped us gain a lot of visibility, especially as they went on to win the tournament. We have a lot of exciting plans and announcements in the pipeline, so it’s a great start!

ILP: Are you targeting the Indian diaspora or looking to convert foreigners from friends to fans?

AA: The Indian diaspora is surely our core target audience given the direct relevance of our content. However, we have content across 12 languages including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu etc which is relevant for not just Indians but South Asians in general, with content and stories and a cultural context that they can strongly relate to. OTT players across the globe are turning their attention to offering more localized content as more and more people coming online, especially in developing countries, want content in their local language. This is exactly the need-gap that ZEE5 fills. ZEE5 is that one-stop destination that not only Indians but South Asians across the globe have been waiting for where they can get over 1,00,000 hours of entertainment content across genres in their preferred language.

ILP: How do you navigate the sensitive matter of pricing & revenue models – for eg 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? Is there a median pricing you are working on?

AA: Our business model varies by country depending on the size of the market and the propensity to pay. In most cases we are freemium ie we offer a host of content that’s free i.e. ad supported. However our premium content especially Originals is behind a paywall. Our pricing across markets is again basis the propensity and ability to pay in that market and ranges from $2-$10.

ILP: Prior to Zee5, Zee TV’s digital play was largely focussed around its LIVE TV service called Ditto TV/OZEE, which did gain some amount of traction, has that service been scrapped and morphed into the new Zee5 app?

AA: With the way digital was growing, it really was a natural transition for ZEE as a media conglomerate to consolidate its OTT offerings dittoTV and OZEE into one single, scalable offering that would be the single digital destination for the Group, which is ZEE5. ZEE5 has not only Live TV but also the largest bouquet of VOD content across languages. It offers 60+ live TV channels, as well over 1,00,000 hours of content across 12 languages, across TV Shows, Movies, Originals, Videos, Cine plays, Music and so much more, and is the largest destination for language content.


ILP: Another phenomenon that seems to have dominated the discussion around OTT services is the glut for original content. Is it just old wine in a new bottle? How does Zee5 plan to compete with services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hotstar on the global stage?

AA: The biggest strength we have is our language content offering across the board, be it TV shows and dramas or movies, and also Originals. We have over 1,00,000 hours of content across genres which we keep adding on to. We have a slew of Originals already launched and many more in the pipeline which are available across key languages. Our recent Original productions like Tigers and Rangbaaz have been extremely well received and appreciated. The digital platform allows for greater experimentation with bolder themes and storylines and that’s what viewers appreciate.


ILP: Tell us about some of the new content you’re creating as well as licensing for the service?

AA: We’re creating a host of originals across 6 languages. We launched our first Original film, Tigers in November. We’ve just launched another tentpole show, Rangbaaz, which chronicles the journey of one of the most feared gangsters of Uttar Pradesh from the ‘90s, and this has been superbly received. Rangbaaz will be available in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Malayalam. We have a whole line-up of some very compelling Originals for 2019 – again across languages. All this content is exclusive to ZEE5.

ILP: Does Zee5 plan to bundle its service with cable operators or e-commerce players to ramp up subscribers?

AA: We will be exploring all relevant ecosystem partnerships in order to ensure the largest possible reach and potential audience base for ZEE5. We have recently announced a strategic partnership with NetRange & Zeasn for their line of smart TVs. We’ve also got a lot of other key partnerships in the pipeline and these will be announced over the next several weeks. These partnerships are across IPTVs, Telecoms and OEMs.



ZEE5 announces special subscription packs for Tamil & Telugu audience

ZEE5 – India’s #2 OTT platform, announces special subscription packs for the Tamil and Telugu audience. Riding on the success of their language content, this latest addition will enable users access to premium Tamil and Telugu content at half the price.ZEE5 is the first OTT player in India to introduce language specific packs.

The ZEE5 Tamil and Telugu Premium packs are each priced competitively at Rs. 49/- for one month and Rs. 499/- for a year. Additionally, subscribers can avail a 50% cashback on the above-mentioned price by paying through Paytm.

The key features of the pack are:

Industry First in terms of the number of hours the TV content is available on the platform before it airs on TV

Before TV offering with top rated and popular shows from Zee Tamil like Sembaruthi, Yaaradi Nee Mohini, Poove Poochoodava and many more and from Zee Telugu like Kalyana Vaibhoyam, Muddha Mandaram, Prema and many more

Original Shows with some of the finest talent across actors, directors and production houses in both languages as also other language content dubbed in Tamil & Telugu

Power packed line up of world digital premieres of blockbuster Telugu films like Bhethaludu, Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada, Kaashmora, Memu among others and Tamil blockbusters like Junga, Irumbuthirai, Kolamavu Kokila, Bhaskar Oru Rascal, Naalu Aaru Anju among others.

Tarun Katial

Tarun Katial

Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 India, said, “Regional markets are a huge focus for us at ZEE5 and language content is one of our biggest differentiators. Launching consistent regional content across Originals, movies and of course catch-up TV has spurred our subscription numbers from smaller cities and towns.”

He further added, “This special Tamil and Telugu subscription pack, a first in the industry, is for the local language-speaking consumer from all three states – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. We are offering more choice to the consumer in terms of content and price as well as sweetening the deal with Paytm. The‘Before TV’ offering is one of its mainstays, where viewers have the unique opportunity to watch their most loved Tamil and Telugu shows before it airs on TV, apart from this we also have Originals and World Digital Premieres. It also helps build value for advertisers coming to our platform seeking focused audiences.

With over 3500 films, 500+ TV shows, 4000+ music videos, 35+ theatre plays and 90+ LIVE TV Channels across 12 languages, ZEE5 truly presents a blend of unrivalled content offering for its viewers across the nation and worldwide. With ZEE5, the global content of Zindagi as a brand, which was widely appreciated across the country, has also been brought back for its loyal viewers.