Amazon Prime, Netflix face a new threat of language specific subscriptions from a local streaming player in India
- Zee5, one of the biggest streaming players in the Indian market, plans on diversifying its subscription plans based on languages and introduce weekly options.
- Tarun Katial, CEO of Zee5, believes this will not only meet the demand for regional content for users but also for advertisers who have thus far been unsuccessful in reaching out to Tier-II and Tier-III markets.
- Zee 5 has also proposed introducing mobile only plans that will be 30% cheaper than other subscriptions.
Tarun Katial, CEO of Zee5, told Business Line than the company has plans to introduce mobile-only plans that will 30% cheaper and is also experimenting with single language packs versus multiple language packs.
Users have the option of choosing between Tamil, Kannada and Telugu only subscriptions startings at ₹49 per month and ₹499 for a year. In comparison, the monthly subscription of is multi-language pack is ₹99 and the annual cost is ₹999.
It should be noted that while Zee5 is a company that originated in India, its video streaming services are available in 190 countries around the world.
The opportunity in language
It’s no secret that users in India have a preference for original but local content. Amazon Prime and Netflix have all launched India-specific shows, some in local languages, to meet that demand. The most recent examples being Four More Shots, Made in Heaven, and the globally acclaimed, Sacred Games.
The move to shift that language preference to subscription models is Zee5’s strategy to lay claim smaller markets in Tier-II and Tier-III cities where the demand for English or international content is limited. It’s also where online users are experiencing the most amount of growth as entry-level smartphones are better equipped to stream video and the data plans are more affordable thanks to Jio’s cheap pricing. In fact, 60% for video consumption comes from rural India even though that’s only 40% of India’s total population with internet connectivity.
Videos could not be served on low-end smartphones. But now with Jio Phone, you get access to video even on very basic phones.
Katyal claims that advertisers have been attempting to reach the market in those areas effectively without a lot of success so far and Zee5’s extensively library in regional languages like Bhojpuri content can now be customised for regional audiences since device and data limitations are no longer in the way.
In the coming year, Zee5 has plans to launch as many as 72 new originals, including 60 shows and 12 movies.
Zee5 is ahead of most local subscription services in India offering multiple subscription options to its users while its competitors like Hotstar and Voot that only offer monthly and annual subscription plans.
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