ZEE5 will double down on regional content in 2021: Manish Kalra

ZEE5 India Chief Business Officer Manish Kalra talks about the platform’s plan for regional markets, their ‘Any Time Manoranjan' campaign and more

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Mar 12, 2021 8:49 AM  | 4 min read
manish Kalra

Video streaming platform ZEE5 plans to double down on regional content in 2021 by increasing investments in this segment. The platform will focus on language markets like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali. The platform plans to produce more original web shows in the regional language besides showcasing more blockbuster regional movies.

"For this year, our priority is to go regional. There is huge demand in southern markets like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. Bengali also has a big audience. We want to enhance the offering for regional languages by producing more original content, bring more movies, bring more popular movie stars on ZEE5 across these languages," ZEE5 India Chief Business Officer Manish Kalra said during an interaction.

"We will double down on regional content - originals as well as movies. We will make significant investments in that part of the country to ensure that we cater to the needs of Indians in a language they want to watch and stories they can relate to," he added.

Kalra said ZEE5 has seen good traction in south India even with a smaller library. He also said that ZEE5's key strength is understanding Indian consumers and offering them content of their choice. He further added that ZEE5 has witnessed a multi-fold growth in 2020. "It's a 100% YoY growth and we want to maintain this growth as we get into this year and keep scaling up."

The platform on Thursday launched 'Any Time Manoranjan' campaign targeted at customers in tier-2 cities. The idea is to get customers to sample some of its SVOD content for free and eventually convert them into paying customers.

Speaking about the campaign, Kalra said that the campaign will run for six weeks, following which the platform take a call based on the kind of upside it sees. "We are calling this campaign ATM. It's a pun on ATM since you can come to ATM and withdraw money anytime. Similarly, you can come to ZEE5 and watch your favourite content anytime, anywhere at your convenience and without paying anything extra. The only thing you have to do is watch some ads," Kalra noted.

Through this campaign, ZEE5 wants to expand the user base by getting new users on-board. "Large number of people in the country are still watching their entertainment offline and they are kind of fence sitters. Our attempt is to give them a service that they like with the kind of content that they like to watch and an experience that they will relish. It is an effort to expand the market for us."

The ATM is a 360-degree integrated campaign that will span TV, digital, outdoor and radio. "Our campaign is heavy on TV across ZEEL network channels. We will support it with outdoor presence in tier-2 cities. We have plans to go on radio. There is already an online digital campaign that has gone live on major online platforms where these users are. It's a good mix," Kalra informed.

The campaign is driven by the insights from consumers in terms of what they want to watch, what are their preferences, and what are the benefits that they are seeking from an online platform like ZEE5. "Consumers will get all the content without having to pay anything upfront. We expect to gain a lot of growth momentum as a result of this campaign," he stated.

The business objective is to grow the user base significantly by inviting viewers to sample content on the AVOD side and then transitioning them slowly to the SVOD side. "Top of the funnel, if we are getting 66 million users on a monthly basis, the objective is to keep adding more people to the funnel. We want to get more people to sample the content. Once more people sample the content on the AVOD side then they will also sample the content on the SVOD side," Kalra mentioned.

ZEE5 conducted a consumer study across 15 tier-1 and 2 cities to understand what will trigger users to move online, what are the benefits they are seeking from a platform, and giving them that in a communication as well as enhanced offering.

One of the insights from the study is that the users demanded SVOD movie content. As a result, ZEE5 has put almost 1500 movies for free. "At the same time, there is an offering on news that we have created. We have 75+ live TV channels which are free. We also have entertainment snippets from various publishers which are available to these users. So it's a full bouquet from TV shows to movies to news to some international content to bring them from behind paywall to AVOD side to ensure that they get to see what they want so that they become loyal and sticky users."

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