ZEE5 Global has been actively churning out original South Asian content to meet the demands of viewers in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. In this year alone, the streamer has announced several Original new series such as the Bangladeshi Original Ladies and Gentlemen and Pavita Rishta – It’s Never Too Late, as well as the grand launch of its expansion into the U.S. market in June.
Archana Anand, the Chief Business Officer of ZEE5 Global told Television Asia Plus that it’s been an exciting period for the streamer. ZEE5 Global has seen tremendous success across its key markets on the back of its content, as well as several market-specific strategic initiatives and partnerships.
“APAC and MENA both have built out as very strong markets for us across both AVOD and SVOD, especially the latter, driving over 60 percent of viewership,” Archana said. “The lockdowns in several APAC countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore have also driven a strong ramp-up in our numbers from those markets in recent weeks.”
Archana revealed, “The U.S., despite having launched [in June], is already our largest market yet, and we are going very aggressive in Canada, too. Our subscriptions jumped by over 60 percent in FY 2020-2021 vs FY 2019-2020, the highest growth coming from MENA and Europe.”
South Asian Content makes its way to the U.S.
Archana touted the arrival of ZEE5 Global in the U.S. as “unprecedented.” The Chief Business Officer explained, “Unlike our other markets where we have a freemium product, in the U.S., we are a pure SVOD platform.”
Several weeks before its launch in the U.S., ZEE5 has already grown exponentially to become its largest international market. “The South Asian diaspora in the U.S. is very clued into what content is trending back home, so they have been waiting for ZEE5 Global to launch for a long time,” Archana said.
Offering various price points of USD 6.99 for a monthly pack, and a limited-time offer of USD 49.99 from USD 84 for the annual pack, Archana said that viewers who come into ZEE5 Global’s platform are not just seeing huge choices of movies or series to watch, but fresh content that keeps getting added. Archana revealed that today, nearly 40 percent of ZEE5’s subscribers have opted to pick Annual Packs.
Apart from this, ZEE5 has a slew of initiatives lined up to support its launch in North America. One such partnership is with the North American Association of Indian Students (NAAIS) that helps EE5 build strong connections with a much younger audience. In September, ZEE5 Global rolled out the ZEE5xNAAIS tour, an extensive student outreach plan that sees networking events and workshops conducted to over 150 universities in the U.S. and Canada.
The go-to destination for South Asian content
Not only is ZEE5 Global catering to the viewing needs of the Indian community, but it has also been investing in content for Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities in the U.S. and across the globe. “We’re further making it easily accessible to anyone interested in exploring South Asian content since this content is gaining much mainstream popularity,” Archana said.
ZEE5 Global is the only streaming platform globally with South Asian entertainment at such a massive scale. Boasting of a library of stories from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, they have over 130,000 Indian series and movies, over 1,000 hours of Pakistani content and Bangladeshi Originals across genres, the streamer is fast building its reputation as a single-point destination that audiences can go to for all entertainment from the region.
“South Asia combines thousands of years of rich history, culture, and traditions with modern-day narratives, and the stories from this region are hugely fascinating and relatable for audiences anywhere,” Archana added.
Diverse content for Indian and global audiences
Archana said that ZEE5 Global has recently redefined its content strategy. While they continue to launch movies and smaller shows, the streamer’s bigger launches are focused on five main languages—Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali.
Looking to launch about three or four big shows per language in a year, ZEE5 Global has launched titles in August such as the courtroom drama 200 Halla Ho!, thriller movie Dial 100, and TVF’s Engineering Girls Season 2. Archana revealed that another much-awaited release lined up is the “Baahubali” filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli’s upcoming magnum opus RRR in all South Indian languages.
In terms of viewership trends in key markets where ZEE5 is available, Archana said that TV shows from across the ZEE channels for ongoing shows such as Kundali Bhagya and Mithai and library shows such as Pavitra Rishta and Jodha Akbar remain a huge draw, they see a strong uptake of their Original web series and movies as well.
With its wide sampling of content across Hindi and other regional languages, recent releases such as 14 Phere, State of Siege: Temple Attack, and Sunflower have done well for the streamer. They have also seen a huge demand for regional Malayalam titles such as Operation Java, Rang De, and Chathur Mukham.
Beautifully capturing the region’s rich 5,000-year-old legacy of history, language and stories that intersects with new narratives, ZEE5 Global presents fascinating narratives that they bring together for viewers on their platform. With their campaign, “Welcome to South Asia: Stories from Our World,” Archana said, “ZEE5 is the only platform globally that aggregates stories from across India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; stories that bring alive the extraordinary and colourful realities that make up our daily lives in this region.”