While the coronavirus pandemic has brought much misery to various industries globally, the digital entertainment market has certainly benefited from individuals staying at home during the lockdown.
One such digital player, ZEE5 has witnessed a surge of over 200% in its audience figures during the height of the pandemic. It claims to have a 50 million monthly active users and four million daily active users, according to Exchange4Media.
In the interaction with online portal, Tarun Katial, CEO of ZEE5 said, “We were one of the first guys to move towards Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), around 18 months ago when we launched Rangbaaz in December 2018. From thereon, we knew that there is a large population in this country- whether paying direct or going through bundles through telecom players- wanting to watch premium content and not just catch-up TV which most OTT players were giving out. Once we walked out on that path, we built a very good pipeline. We had put a lot of stories and shows under development. So we had enough shows that were going to release over a period of time. The good part was that when the pandemic was announced, we had many of these stories almost ready to go up.
Another thing we decided to do was to tell “uplifting” stories. We understood that the sentiment had taken a lot of beating during the pandemic. So while there were many genres, we decided to go ahead with content that gave hope, upliftment and positivity. We acquired a string of movies that were ready but were not finding a theatrical release or a platform. We were lucky to chance upon them. So we did Chintu ka Birthday, Pareeksha, Mee Raksam, Atkan Chatkan and many others like them which were made by gems like Prakash Jha, Shabana Azmi, Baba Azmi etc. All this kept the pipeline going and the audiences involved.
In this brief period, we had to redo our milestones many times over. We reported a growth of 200 per cent during the pandemic period.”
ZEE5 will soon be launching its next original movie ‘London Confidential’. It also has plans to launch a much more of a personalised news product and adding a gaming product, Play5.
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