Namah Chawla

“South Indian languages cater to highly entertainment-oriented audiences”: ZEE5’s Manish Kalra

ZEE5 doubles down on Tamil content and plans to launch 10 Tamil original series and bring some of the blockbuster movies for its audiences. A chat with ZEE5’s chief business officer.

Video streaming platform ZEE5 India recently announced a compelling Tamil content lineup. There is producer Vetrimaaran’s first original series ‘Nilamellam Ratham’, and Prakash Raj-starrer drama series ‘Anantham’.

ZEE5’s upcoming Tamil content slate also includes director Vijay’s teen dance drama ‘Five-Six-Seven-Eight’, revenge saga ‘Kolaigara Kairegaigal’ that is directed by S.R. Prabhakaran, and ‘Aindham Vedham’, a mystical thriller.

Some other Tamil titles include ‘Alma Mater’, ‘Ayali’ and season 2 of the popular series ‘Fingertip’. Then there are films like ‘Yaanai’, featuring Arun Vijay and Priya Bhavani Shankar of ‘Blood Money’ fame, and ‘Thamezharasan’, starring Vijay Antony, Suresh Gopi, Sonu Sood and Remya Nambeesan.

According to ZEE5, the most watched Tamil original series on the platform is ‘Vilangu’. With the strengthening of its already robust Tamil content slate, ZEE5 aims to bolster its position as a go-to multilingual entertainment platform.

Speaking to afaqs!, Manish Kalra, chief business officer, ZEE5, says, “We have realised that South Indian languages, like Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, cater to the highly entertainment-oriented audiences. This market has different demands as well as millions of subscribers, who are willing to consume a variety of great content. That is why Tamil language is relevant and one of the biggest markets for us.”

Manish Kalra, ZEE5
Manish Kalra, ZEE5

“From a genre perspective, it is a market that has a large spectrum. We aim to cater to all kinds of genres. Family drama, emotional and comedy genres tend to do well in Tamil language,” he adds.

When asked about what type of content works best for Tamil audiences, Kalra mentions that there is a big fandom for Tamil films (on the platform). As per ZEE5, the market is responding to both web series and films.

“We have seen that across varied language audiences, dubbed Tamil movies do well on our platform. Content travels across geographies and if it is good content, language should not be a barrier.”

From a brand’s perspective, ZEE5 is more focused on leveraging its AVOD library. Kalra believes that on the SVOD side, if there is a genuine brand integration possibility, then the platform will definitely go ahead. He says, “The brand integration has to be relevant because we don’t want to take away from the convenience of our consumers. We want to ensure that we are giving them the right kind of ad-free environment.”

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar are also investing in South Indian language content. So, is the competition getting intense?

“There’s obviously competition. And, it is up to us to build an understanding of regional audiences, and use those insights to create content that they find real, relatable and consumable. Understanding the consumer is more important than focusing on the competition,” Kalra signs off.

Have news to share? Write to us