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ZEE5 is aiming for 3X growth in subscription in FY22 by increasing its focus on Bharat
Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 IndiaZEE5
Manish Kalra shares what ZEE5's growth strategy for FY22 are
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ZEE5 is aiming for 3X growth in subscription in FY22 by increasing its focus on Bharat

Manish Kalra shares what ZEE5's growth strategy for FY22 are
  • OTT platform ZEE5 recently celebrated its third anniversary.
  • Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India looked back at some of the milestones that the platform has achieved in the last 3 years, and spoke about how they will try to bring in the next phase of growth for the platform.
The pandemic-induced lockdown, while bringing the world to a stop, acted as a shot in the arm for most over-the-top platforms and ZEE5’s story is not very different. Having grown by 200% during the months of the lockdown, the platform’s subscription base has been increasing by roughly 100% in the following months. And for FY22, the platform has the target of growing their subscription base by around 3X. Their strategy is simple, to go deeper into the country, get more and more people to sample their offering, and ensuring there is something for everyone, to help them stay onto the platform.

“Our vision is to become India’s most preferred OTT platform and we want to do that by giving consumers the best-in-class content and experience on the devices they consume their content on. There’s a huge opportunity for us to cater to the content needs of India’s regional content consumer which is our strength. We want to make sure we do a good job there and are able to connect with our consumers,” shared Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India.

In terms of where the platform stands currently, it has around 65.9 million global MAUs, 5.4 million global DAUs as of Dec’20 and a recorded 133 minutes average watch time per viewer per month. ZEE5’s average subscriptions grew 3X in 2020 YoY, and its active subscriptions grew 2.6X in November 2020 versus November 2019. This growth and retention rate resulted in a 1.3X growth in overall engagement in November 2020 as compared to November 2019. Witnessing a rise of 45% in its paid viewers, its subscriptions went up by 80%. It has also been witnessing around 3X growth in viewership on connected devices.

What has helped the platform ring in these healthy numbers is its focus on delivering content that people connect with. Being a part of ZEEL has ensured a steady flow of original content. “Being a part of Zee has given us the capability to produce content faster and also to offer really good quality content to our users. Zee has been catering to the real India, to Bharat for years now and they understand the kind of stories that will connect with Indians, the insights that will work and that's helped us create some very good shows and stories. We have worked on keeping the consumer at the front and center of everything we do. We also tell stories that are relatable. Ensuring that our technology is strong is also an important point of focus for us. I always tell my team that we should be able to cater to both our consumer using an entry level device in Tier III cities and an iPhone user in a metro. Our focus on these things has helped us,” explained Kalra.

While a lot of consumers come to the platform to watch catch-up content, they have also been trying to woo this audience by offering them features like before-TV where they can watch shows 24 hours before they are aired on TV. They are also working on their recommendation engines that feed people the kind of content they like to watch.

Regional content will be a big play for ZEE5 too this year. “Our target is to get between 2X-3X growth this year and we want to do that by telling consumers the right stories. We are focused on bringing in a lot of regional content. While we have produced most of our originals in Hindi, we are seeing Telugu, Tamil and Bangla emerging as strong languages. So our key priority for FY22 is to build a multilingual strategy. For us, this will mean a deeper regionalization. This will be the year of Bharat because we want to be the key storyteller for all the millions of Indians,” he added.

On what their marketing strategy will be to reach out to this audience, Kalra shared that they are looking at a 360 degree approach. “If you're a consumer consuming news online, watching something on YouTube in the afternoon or watching something on TV in the evening, we would want to be there to nudge you to try out content. So our strategy would entail thinking consumer-first and catering to their needs, going vernacular and deeper in the country.”

The platform recently launched a 360-degree campaign, ZEE5 ATM – ‘Any Time Manoranjan’. “We aim to expand our viewer base into newer geographies to bridge the gap of TV viewing audience by adding 1,500 movie titles across 12 local languages to our AVOD library of content, further encouraging them to download the ZEE5 app. From an overall business performance perspective, we will continue to offer a powerful combination of platform convenience for seamless viewing and compelling content to further cement our place as the Multilingual Storyteller for a Billion Indians.”

The platform also wants to cater to the Indian diaspora living outside India and is about to enter a new market soon, shared Kalra.