ZEE5 looks to launch 35+ Originals in H2 FY21

ZEE5 India Programming Head Aparna Acharekar says the network has big plans for the last week of December

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Dec 1, 2020 8:38 AM

After ending the first half of FY21 with 43 Originals, video streaming platform ZEE5 India now plans to launch another 35+ originals in the second half of the fiscal. The platform's plan is to launch 80 originals during the ongoing financial year.

ZEE5 launched 25 and 18 originals/movies in Q1 and Q2 respectively. In Q2, ZEE5's revenue and EBITDA loss stood at Rs 98.9 crore and Rs 189.4 crore respectively. Meanwhile, the revenue and EBITDA loss in Q1 was Rs 94.9 crore and Rs 145 crore.

ZEE5 India Programming Head Aparna Acharekar said the platform plans its content calendar well in advance in order to have a robust pipeline. In fact, ZEE5 has already firmed up its content line-up for FY22.

"Our 2021-22 content calendar has been firmed up. Everything that will release at some stage in 21-22 is at some stage of production. The bigger challenge than content planning is for that content to remain contextual."

She further stated that as platforms grow in scale they also need to scale-up their content offerings. "As you become a platform of scale, you need to give content and variety of that scale. The need of our business is to have a long and consistent pipeline."

ZEE5 library comprises 500+ hours of original content.

Queried about ZEE5's content plan for the festive season, Acharekar said the platform has a content strategy in place for the entire year. "We always plan our calendar right at the beginning of the year. We know how our calendar will look like for weekends and on special days."

Long weekends are one of the key periods when the platform looks to engage the audience with original and special content.

"Not just October-November-December but throughout the year the entire calendar is planned around say long weekends or whenever there is a potential for people to relax to take some time off and be able to binge off. We are always on the lookout for long weekends and on days when the sentiment to watch content is high and when people have more time on their hands," Acharekar elaborated.

ZEE5 plans to launch three big shows every month across Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Apart from Original shows, ZEE5 will also air movies after their premiere on Zee Plex.

"Every month there are two to three big launches ZEE5. We launch Originals across Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu every month. We have big plans for the last week of December all the way to New Year. We will premiere an original film with Manav Kaul and Arjun Rampal called 'Nail Polish' in January," she revealed.

Acharekar admitted that the pandemic did have an impact on the platform's content production. However, content production now is in full swing.

She noted that content providers have to plan ahead for the future anticipating the future. "You actually have to anticipate that in December 2021 what kind of sentiment will prevail. What kind of content will people like? What kind of story will they like? What kind of cast will be relevant even at that time?"

New shows bring in newer audiences and therefore it is important to offer varied content to cater to different audience sets. "When we launched Rangbaaz, we largely had a male audience watching thriller content. As more shows launched, we started attracting a lot of female OTT audience. The more consumers you get on the platform, the more variety you need to offer."

For ZEE5, the success metric is season and episode completion besides other metrics like the duration during which the show was watched and the watch time. Some of the most successful shows on the platform are ‘Rangbaaz’ and ‘Abhay’.

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