ZEE5, India’s largest home-grown video streaming platform, recently launched in the US for South Asian content and opened up a world of multicultural entertainment for the South Asian diaspora and mainstream audiences across the United States.
Archana announced the launch at a mega event attended by media and consumers from the U.S. and across the globe. She was joined by a special guest, Actor, Producer, Activist, and Entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas. They also unveiled ZEE5’s upcoming content slate and their new global brand campaign, “Welcome to South Asia: Stories from our world”. The campaign spotlights stories from South Asia, where even ordinary stories are extraordinary, therefore leading to the narrative “if this is our reality, imagine our stories.”
Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer– ZEE5 Global in conversation with MediaNews4U on the US launch, content and subscription module in the US, and much more…
ZEE 5 has been going places now the entry in the US, your thoughts?
We’re thrilled to finally launch ZEE5 in the US! We’ve already available across 190+ global markets. We’ve built out a strong presence in APAC and MENA and Europe is another market where we are seeing great traction. Today we are the go-to digital destination for millions of South Asians across the globe who are looking for width and depth of content in their own language, be it Hindi or Tamil or Telugu, Bengali, or others. The US has been on our radar for a while now, it’s an extremely exciting market given the huge 5.4 million South Asian diaspora that’s already very familiar with our content, and we look forward to making this one of our top markets globally in the shortest possible time.
ZEE5 will cater to the Indian diaspora with its South Asian Content, who are your competitors?
In any market, whether you are a first-generation or a third-generation Indian, or South Asian, your ties with your home country and language are extremely strong. We have a huge library of Indian content across languages that go across categories like TV Shows, movies, and Originals and genres and cater specifically to the different Indian language speaking communities like Tamil Telugu, Bengali, etc. We also have the most extensive Pakistani library and a line-up of Originals and are the first to foray into Bangladesh too in terms of content creation, so we really have the biggest right to win in this space.
Globally how has ZEE5 been performing? In this pandemic and lockdown have you seen a change in consumption patterns?
It has been a fantastic journey for us. We started off on a massive note when, within just three weeks of launch in APAC, we galloped to No1 in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. We’ve seen significant year-on-year growth on the back of our content, partnership, and production initiatives across markets. We’ve built out a strong presence in APAC and MENA, and Europe is growing out very well as another frontrunner market. We look forward now to building out both U.S. and Canada as key markets too.
Coming to your other question, yes, we’ve seen a definite shift in consumption patterns across markets. The lockdown has been that single common factor across the globe that has drastically impacted the way we consume content. Stuck at home and with movie theatres closed during the lockdown, people have ended up experimenting and engaging with content a lot more. At ZEE5, we saw over 30% spike in traffic and engagement across global markets especially between March and May 2020, also fuelled by attractive pack offers and a steady flow of direct to digital releases, Our data also throws up interesting trends of increased viewership of older, classic content across both Bollywood movies and tv shows. The other shift we are seeing is that of audiences increasingly consuming stories that are in a different language and made accessible through dubbing and subtitling.
What would be your Subscription rates in the US? Are you also planning to go AVOD or TVOD in this market?
ZEE5 is available at a highly affordable price of $6.99 for a monthly pack, and an annual pack heavily discounted from $84 to a very attractive $49.99 as an introductory offer. We also have a special discount coming up for the student community with the monthly pack priced at $4.99 instead of $6.99.
We are following an SVOD model in the U.S. market so all our content is behind a paywall.
What will be the Marketing Campaign in the US?
We launched in the US on June 22 with a mega event where we unveiled the brand and content line-up along with Priyanka Chopra Jonas as a special guest. We are now rolling out a high decibel 360 campaign across TV, print, digital and social media to connect with our audiences. We have a new global brand campaign for ZEE5 called “Welcome to South Asia: Stories from our world.” The campaign spotlights stories from South Asia, where even ordinary stories are extraordinary, therefore leading to the narrative “if this is our reality, imagine our stories”. The campaign has been launched in the US and will be rolled out in other global markets soon.
We also have some very interesting partnerships in the pipeline to reach different communities and audience segments. A key announcement we made at the launch event was about our partnership with NAAIS (North American Association of Indian Students) to help build a strong connection with the younger audience. Over the next few months, we will be exclusively partnering with NAAIS and working closely with them across multiple initiatives, including student outreach programs across universities and colleges in the U.S. and numerous philanthropic endeavors, including COVID-19 relief efforts.
We have also announced a partnership with Mass Mutual, another key organization in the U.S. Over the next few months we will be announcing many such interesting associations to help us get ZEE5 to every South Asian in the U.S.