We’re aggressively driving partnerships across the ecosystem: Archana Anand, ZEE5 Global

Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, tells us about the platform's partnership with Google and the markets the brand is most upbeat about

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Sep 6, 2019 8:17 AM Updated: Sep 6, 2019 2:57 PM

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Archana Anand ZEE5

 From being one of the most downloaded OTT apps in places like  Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to curating content especially for the global audience, ZEE5 is upbeat about their global roadmap. Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer at ZEE5 Global talks about the markets the brand is most upbeat about. ZEE5 also brought Google on board to help them achieve maximum reach globally. Google did a thorough market analysis of the audiences interested in the content that was owned and created by ZEE.

ZEE5 seems to have ranked as the No 1 entertainment app in key markets within weeks of its launch. Can you please elaborate on the markets?

 Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were among the key SAARC markets where we galloped to the No 1 position, that too within a few weeks of launch. We launched ZEE5 across 190+ markets in Oct 2018 and rolled out our marketing campaign a few weeks later in Jan 2019 across select markets in APAC. Our immediate priority was to establish ourselves firmly as the largest and most comprehensive destination for Indian entertainment, especially in SAARC countries where our content has the highest direct affinity. We used inputs from local market specialists and extensive market insights to create very specifically targeted media campaigns basis for various benchmarks to achieve quick market penetration with rapid awareness and usage. All this and more resulted in ZEE5 becoming the No. 1 entertainment app across key markets in SAARC including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka within just a few weeks of launch, and now we look to replicate this success story across other markets soon too.

You are also one of the first OTT platforms from India to customize Indian content for global audiences? Tell us about the markets you are upbeat about? What is the kind of content you are curating for the global audience?

 As we deepened our presence across international markets, we realized that the huge love for Bollywood and Indian TV Shows is not restricted to Indians or even South Asians abroad, but is also huge among mainstream audiences. This was also supported by the insights from our local linear channel teams.  Therefore, in April 2019, we launched a range of Indian content including Bollywood movies dubbed across 5 international languages, Bahasa Malay, Thai, Indo Bahasa, German and Russian, expanding our target audience beyond South Asians to mainstream audiences too across these markets, and while its early days, we are seeing a great response.

Any particular reason why Middle East is a strong market and you have done so many associations there?

The Middle East is a very exciting market for us as there is a huge Indian and South Asian community there which is already familiar with and loves our content across languages like Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, and others. We have a strong bouquet of content that’s striking a chord among the South Indian community in the market. There’s also a huge demand for Bollywood movies in the Middle East among local audiences too and our catalogue of 2000+ movies as well as our Originals, many of which have Bollywood stars, caters superbly to that demand. Our recent launches like Uri, Simmba, and Kedarnath among others have done really well as have our Originals like Kaafir, The Final Call, and Poison etc, n fact the Middle East was the first of the three markets that we kicked off our new campaign ‘Full On Entertainment’ in, through various on-ground events. Our recent partnerships with Eurostar and the  LuLu Group are only the first of many and we have some very key telco partnerships also in the pipeline.

You have also roped in Google as a consulting partner to build their global strategy and execution plan. Tell us more about the partnership. What exactly would be Google’s role?

Launching globally across 190 countries required an in-depth understanding of the digital audiences across the markets, especially the far-flung ones. Prioritizing our key markets to ensure that we drive clear wins out of them was going to be an important task at hand for us and Google was the obvious choice for us to partner with for our global rollout. As a consulting partner, Google did a thorough market analysis of the audiences interested in the content that was owned and created by ZEE and that threw up some very key insights. Those, along with inputs from local market specialists and our own business teams were used to create media plans and strategies basis the benchmarks.

Every OTT platform now also has telecom partners, while we know you have partnerships with Airtel in India do you have any such tie-ups with international players too since you are aggressively promoting your platform globally?

Absolutely - we’re very aggressively driving partnerships across the ecosystem. Since our launch in October 2018, we have built out a slew of strategic partnerships in every key market like Dialog in Sri Lanka, Celcom in Malaysia, Robi Axiata in Bangladesh and others. We’ve also partnered with Apigate for multiple markets, and with Zeasn and Netrange for their Smart TV range. We’re also building out a strong offline presence in key markets like the Middle East with our partnerships with key retailers like the LuLu Group and Eurostar. We have multiple partnership announcements also coming up over the next several weeks including our first in Australia.

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