The world’s largest streaming service for South Asian content ZEE5 has launched in the U.S. The arrival of the platform in the country opens up a world of multicultural entertainment for the South Asian diaspora and mainstream audiences across the United States.

Present at the virtual launch on 22 June was Archana Anand, ZEE5’s Chief Business Officer, who was joined by special guest, Priyanka Chopra Jonas. 

Commenting on the arrival of the platform on U.S. shores, Archana said, “The United States is the final and most exciting bastion in our global journey. Reaching out to 5.4 million South Asian diaspora audience that has been so eagerly awaiting our arrival is easily going to be the best part of this journey yet.” 

archana anand
Archana Anand, ZEE5’s Chief Business Officer. Courtesy of ZEE5.

“While the U.S. is a new market for ZEE5, it’s a country that we as a group have had a long-standing association with, and one that goes way back to 1998 when we launched our flagship channel ZEE TV. Today, with over 15 channels across multiple Indian languages, the U.S. remains one of our key markets where we now look to further build out our growth story that is inclusive of a much younger demographic and with far more contemporary content,” continued Archana. 

priyanka chopra jonas
Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Courtesy of ZEE5.

Priyanka joined Archana in unveiling ZEE5’s upcoming content slate and its 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.”

The multiple announcements were interspersed with conversations between Archana and Priyanka, with the latter commenting on how streaming services have changed the landscape of content viewing, and on the hunger among South Asian communities to watch their own hyperlocal content and see themselves being represented to international audiences, and how streaming services were key in providing such a platform to help people feel represented.

As part of the launch, ZEE5 announced its lineup of Originals and other blockbusters, across languages to release on the platform in the coming months:

  • RRR from Baahubali filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli in all South Indian languages
  • Sunil Grover starrer Sunflower and Akshaye Khanna’s OTT debut State of Siege: Temple Attack
  • New seasons of ZEE5 Originals Abhay 3Rangbaaz 3The Test Case S2, and Code-M 52
  • Tamil releases: HandcuffBlood Money, and Vinodhiya Chiththam
  • Telugu releases: Losers 2, Lol SalaamOka Chinna Family, and Net along with Shoot-out at Alair
  • Bangla releases: Ladies & Gentlemen, a 10-episode Bangla web series directed by Mostafa Sarwar Farooki
  • Pakistani releases: Asim Abbasi directed original series ChurailsMehreen Jabbar’s directorial venture Ek Jhoothi Love Story and Dhoop ki Deewar.

ZEE5 has a rich library of 130,000 hours of stories from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh which is spread across:

  • 1600+ best-loved TV shows from Zee channels like Zee TV, Zee Telugu, Zee Tamil, Zee Bangla, and others
  • 3500+ movies including some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters
  • 200+ Originals with some of the biggest Bollywood stars
  • 600+ Music, health, and lifestyle videos to be added soon and more.

This content is available in Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, as well as Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Arabic, Urdu, and Bangla (Bangladeshi) with key titles dubbed and/or subtitled in English.

Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.

ZEE5 will be 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. The platform also announced a special discount for the student community with the monthly pack priced at $4.99 instead of $6.99.

Calling out Canada as another focus market, ZEE5 also announced that it will be available for Canadian audiences and that it would also be launching its campaign in Canada, thereby kicking off its marketing in the country. ZEE5 sees much potential in the country, given that it has a tremendous amount of content across languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu, perfect for key diaspora audiences within the Canadian landscape.

Archana also called out a key strategic partnership that the streaming platform had locked in with NAAIS (North American Association of Indian Students), that will help ZEE5 build strong connects with a much younger audience.

As a registered non-profit, NAAIS today aims to connect, educate, and mobilize over 850,000 students and young professionals of Indian origin in the U.S. Over the next few months, ZEE5 will be exclusively partnering with NAAIS and work closely with Sudhanshu Kaushik, executive director of NAAIS across multiple initiatives, including student outreach programs across universities and colleges in the U.S. and numerous philanthropic endeavours, including COVID-19 relief efforts.

ZEE5 will also be partnering with MassMutual in the U.S. to reach the latter’s extensive South Asian customer database and jointly serve the South Asian community. ZEE5 and MassMutual share common goals to cater to the South Asian community with the tools and resources they both have to offer.