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In an interview with IMPACT in November 2018, Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd had spoken about his intentions of massively scaling up the network’s OTT platform, ZEE5, and his expectations of the platform contributing 30% to Zee’s overall topline over the next five years.

ZEE5 recently celebrated its first anniversary and is already working on an ambitious growth plan. It recently announced plans to launch 72 originals across multiple genres and six languages by March 2020. The plan is to come up with content across languages, to reach out to consumers, not only in the metros but also in Tier II and Tier III cities. As of December’18, ZEE5 had 56.3 million monthly active users (MAU), recording a growth of 36% compared to September’18 (This number does not include users from the telecom partnerships).

Despite being only a year old in the market, Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 India believes the platform has an edge over most other players in the segment. What has worked in its favour, shares Katial, is the strong belief in the 3Vs – Voice, Video and Vernacular. He explains, “India lies in its languages, so we made sure that voice search was available in multiple languages on the app and platform, UI. We offer voice searches in 12 languages and are probably the only Indian platform with voice search in so many languages. Ours is a type-less app. We have paid a lot of attention to our vernacular strategy too. We have added a lot of original content in different languages, and at the next level, added some of our network content to go on the platform, even before TV, and created special price points for these packages around Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. This has really helped us build a new base of subscribed consumers in these markets. Thirdly, when it comes to video, it’s not just about our ability to purpose video for consumers, but also customising the video experience to many different variants.”

Last year, the platform released an array of shows and movies across Hindi and regional languages including Karenjit Kaur, Rangbaaz, Tigers, Akoori, Zero KMS, B.Tech, Kaali that did well for ZEE5. The plan to launch a host of original content this year too is an effort at bringing customers on to the OTT platform and make it their long-term choice of entertainment content.

“Consumers look for a certain volume of content across languages and predictive analysis says that for subscription to grow, we need to offer a certain volume of content on the platform,” says Katial. “Our original content is different because of the sheer volumes we create, it’s in those many languages, it’s mass, it understands consumers’ tastes and needs, which is very different. We are not niche and we are not doing this at the top end of the market, but at the middle of the market,” he adds.

When it comes to getting an edge in the OTT space, a lot also depends on how visible a platform is, in terms of marketing.
We saw most OTT players spending a lot on OOH and Digital marketing last year, to make sure they are on their consumer’s minds. ZEE5 is following a similar route. Talking about the platform’s marketing strategy, Manish Aggarwal, Business Head, ZEE5 India says, “In the last one year, we’ve learnt that video on video works really well for us. So we are investing heavily on Digital marketing and are present across platforms. We have close working relationships and partnerships with media houses like Google and Facebook. We have also seen outdoor delivering huge impact for us. We have a prominent outdoor visibility for ZEE5 for all our originals. We would be among the top two spenders on OOH within the OTT category. So, Digital and Outdoor are our top two advertising mediums. We use other platforms tactically, based on what we want to say and the audience we want to reach.”

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