Just three months into its launch and streaming platform ZEE5 is already way ahead of any other player catering to the South Asian diaspora. We take a look at what’s driving the platform’s success.
India Post News Service
Launched as recently as the end of June in the U.S., the only market globally where it was not present previously, ZEE5, the streaming platform focusing on South Asian content, is already well entrenched as the choice for the South Asian diaspora across the country and has stirred up much interest in the streaming community. Ramping up its focus on the diaspora community in the US even as other existing players scale theirs down, ZEE5 has announced new content in multiple Indian languages like Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali.
ZEE5’s strong success, driven by multiple factors, gives us a peek into the high potential for global streaming platforms catering to specific communities in the vastly fragmented U.S. market and across the world, even as conversations around diversity and representation become stronger.
What makes the U.S. a key market
The U.S. has one of the largest aggregations of the South Asian diaspora with an estimated 5.4 million living across the country. Dominant within these are Indians, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities that make up the significant chunk. More than ever before, with travel bans in place across most markets over the last year, these subscribers have acutely felt the need to stay connected to their home countries and culture through accessing news and entertainment from back home. This vast heterogenous community represents a unique market opportunity for streaming platforms with relevant content to capture the market, since this type of content is neither easily available at scale nor in an aggregated form on a single destination in their host countries.
ZEE5, as the ‘world’s largest platform for South Asian content’ with 170,000 hours of content from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is already miles ahead of any other player in this context, targeting the diverse and multiple Indian language speaking communities as well as the Pakistani and Bangladeshi diaspora audiences in the U.S. Add to this a high propensity to pay: According to the 2020 U.S. census data, Indians in the U.S. have the highest median income of $123,000 among all Asian Americans, making this a highly attractive, high ARPU market for premium digital media providers like ZEE5.
Familiar content brand
Most South Asians are deeply familiar with Zee, the parent company of ZEE5, which has a significant presence in the US market. Zee operates over 15 channels in the U.S. with its flagship channel Zee TV that launched in the country in 1998. Banking on this strong legacy, ZEE5’s arrival has been eagerly awaited within the diaspora community.
South Asians are strongly connected to friends and family back home, accessing local news and social media, but they also remain updated on new content launches especially on ZEE5 given its high frequency of fresh content releases and slew of digital premieres. According to the platform, in the weeks prior to launch, ZEE5 had already received half a million hits on the website www.zee5.com.
Even with high median incomes, the South Asian community remains highly value sensitive. ZEE5’s introductory offer pricing of $49.99 per year, down from $84 is highly competitive and aims at aggressively capturing this market. Apart from this it also offers a monthly pack at $6.99, in line with or, lower than competitive offerings. The strategic pricing seems to have found its mark, with over 40% of ZEE5’s subscriber base coming onto the Annual packs as per a recent interview. The high traction on the Annual Packs also clearly point to the target communities seeing value in accessing high quality local language content by locking themselves into a long term commitment.
ZEE5 has also rolled out an even more attractive limited time offer where new subscribers can get 3 months free on the already discounted Annual Pack i.e. 15 months subscription at $49.99 instead of $103.99 i.e. over 50% off.
Constant flow of fresh content
At the core, content is the key to every viewer’s heart on a streaming platform. At launch, ZEE5 had rolled out a slew of content announcements, while sharing a compelling upcoming content slate as well. It has stayed true to this promise with tent pole properties with the biggest stars including Silence… Can You Hear It?, 14 Phere, Dial 100, 200 Hall Bol and others launched every month to ensure fresh content every time a viewer logs in
According to a recent interview, Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, revealed that the US launch had far surpassed their expectations from the launch and that ZEE5 has already grown out to become the largest revenue market for the platform internationally. Among its top markets are California, Texas, New Jersey and New York, many of which have large South Asian diaspora residents.
As the streaming platform continues to scale up its multiple initiatives across the U.S. with its student outreach program, marketing campaigns and other plans, one can only expect to be seeing much more from ZEE5.
About ZEE5 Global
ZEE5 is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages; Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, and also six international languages -Malay, Thai, Bahasa, German, Russian and Arabic. ZEE5 is home to 135,000+ hours of On Demand Content and 60+ live TV channels. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Cineplays, Live TV and Health and Lifestyle content all in one single destination. ZEE5 offers groundbreaking features like 16 navigational languages, content download option, seamless video playback and Voice Search.
The ZEE5 App can be downloaded from Google Play Store or the iOS App Store. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com. The app is also available on Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV.
ZEE5 Global Twitter: twitter.com/ZEE5Global
ZEE5 Global LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/zee5global