ZEE5 unveiled its upcoming content slate at an event in Kolkata on Saturday, 10 December 2022.
Samrat Ghosh, Chief Cluster Officer – East, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), explained that the consumers of OTT are different from those viewing television. Keeping this in mind, the content is diverse, he underlined. The new slate of content cuts across genres and includes original series and movies.
Ghosh remarked, “We are here to stay invested and build the market. The top pool of talents are working across various projects. Actors like Ankush, a leading superstar from the Bengali film industry, his first OTT debut is going to be through our show named, ‘Shikarpur’. Similarly for Oindrilla, leading Bengali film actress, her OTT debut is going to be through a show, ‘SwetKali’.”
Directors from the Bengali film industry Anjan Dutt, Kaushik Ganguly, Raj Chakraborty are also part of the platform’s shows, either as directors or as actors and directors.
In line with ZEEL’s philosophy, the OTT platform will also work to nurture and create a new pool of talent. While the creative head on ‘Shikarpur’ is Kaushik Ganguly, it has been directed by an upcoming talent Nirjhar.
An adaptation of popular detective story ‘Feluda’ penned by Satyajit Ray is also on the cards.
“You will see a mix of literature, contemporary storytelling, and fictional storytelling,” he added.
The content strategy leans towards and not quantity currently, according to the CCO.
“In the last two years, OTT consumption globally has gone up by 4X. In India the regional language content contributes 30pc to the overall OTT consumption, and is expected to grow by 50pc over the next couple of years,” said the spokesperson.
Specific to Bengali, he pointed to the more than 10cr people who speak Bengali in India, 17 crore in Bangladesh and a cumulative Bengali-speaking audience including a diaspora of 30 crore.
Ghosh pointed out, “The way we have been able to build a strong language content market in the television space in Bengal, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be able to do it in the OTT space. In terms of brand vision, the first milestone we have set for ourselves is to make ZEE5 as the homepage for Bangla content consumption. Bengalis sitting anywhere in the world thinking of good Bangla content, the first thing that should come to their mind is ZEE5.”
“Competition is not just with the local players but also global players whose content is also getting consumed in our market, acknowledged Ghosh.
Since OTT is at a very nascent stage, there is huge headroom for all of them to grow because the market has yet to experience its true potential,” he added.
Differentiating by content, ZEE5 Bangla’s slated content approach is of stories that are progressive and contemporary yet holding onto Indian culture.
“Whatever growth has happened was because the AVOD content that we create on television has a lot of traction on ZEE5. In terms of SVOD, this is our new journey that we are embracing, staying committed by creating more quality content specifically designed for the OTT space. We are hopeful that we have created a really exciting slate and will get appreciation from a larger section of audience,” added Ghosh.
The platform has launched a campaign themed ‘Erpor ki’ (What Next) across metro and Tier 2 markets to announce its content slate.
“Bengalis as an audience want to see the reflection of their culture, real stories that can resonate with them and which can have a huge amount of relevance in their life. So these are some emerging trends we are also flying down back through insights of our content thinking,” explained the Chief Cluster Officer.
“Since we want to stay committed in this market we came up with this big launch where we announced a 10-content slate with the promise of many more to come in the near future. Now it’s 100 pc Bangla content. If content is good it will go beyond boundaries so the Bangla content will come with English sub-titling for the non-Bengalis too. Content has got no language, at the end of the day in the content-making environment what we do is we try to touch the hearts of the consumers through various emotions that plough in the narrative. If we get the emotions right, it resonates with anybody, anywhere in the world. So that is the prime focus with which we create our content,” he concluded.