Benita Chacko
OTT Streaming

ZEE5's active user base witnesses 63% rise with Tamil content slate

The streaming platform forayed into the Tamil content in April last year with a diverse slate of Tamil originals.

The streaming platform forayed into the Tamil content in April last year with a diverse slate of Tamil originals.

In the last 12 months, since it announced its original Tamil content slate, ZEE5 has clocked a 54% increase in viewer base and a 63% increase in active user base in the Tamil region. The watch time for Tamil content per day increased by 23%.

Manish Kalra
Manish Kalra

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India, said the Tamil foray has helped the platform witness high double digit growth in its subscriber base. The investment continues to be in triple digits of crores both on content and marketing.

"The advantages of following a consumer-first approach in curating the Tamil slate has worked successfully for us, taking us closer to the hearts of the Tamil audiences. Our growth is a testament to our market understanding in identifying and catering to audiences’ entertainment needs with increased choices like exclusive originals, blockbuster movies, international sports, TV+ content at different price points allowing them to explore and engage," he said.

In an interview with afaqs! last year, Punit Misra, president – content and international markets, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises, had said that 50% of its subscribers come from the language markets. South India is an important market for the platform. Going forward, the platform plans to continue its focus on sustaining the growth trend and scaling up its investments in the Tamil entertainment industry. It is heavily investing in the Tamil and Telugu markets. These are its key markets- both for originals and acquiring movies. 

Meanwhile, the Kannada and Malayalam markets are leading largely for its movies. "Having movies in both Malayalam and Kannada itself is driving a lot of subscription engagement for us. At the same time we are witnessing good success in the Telugu and Tamil Market with the originals," Kalra added.

After capturing viewers in the metro cities, it now intends to focus on acquiring viewers in the smaller towns in Tamil Nadu. 

"Metros take the lead in terms of early adopters and innovators. So Chennai becomes one of the biggest markets followed by Coimbatore and Salem. Now the next strategy is to create more content that travels beyond the metros. That is one of the key reasons for launching content like Ayali. It connects with everyone regardless of where they live," he said.

Kalra says with Zee's television content available freely on the platform, AVOD is the growth driver for ZEE5. "A large number of people come to catch up with television content or watch free movies. When they come across good quality content, which is behind the paywall, they tend to subscribe. So TV becomes a kind of sampling and growth driver for ZEE5," he said. 

Siju Prabhakaran
Siju Prabhakaran

Siju Prabhakaran, Chief Cluster Officer – South, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises, said, "We have sojourned in the OTT space with a very confident outlook and understanding of the market. Our creative experimentation this year has had us pushing the envelope and presenting unconventional narratives that transcended traditional barriers of what people expect on OTT. 

"We are proud to have built a library of content that caters to the diverse tastes of our viewers. Going forward, the idea is to continue innovating, experimenting and produce compelling stories that are true to the land, have a strong moral and cultural compass, help our viewers navigate change by offering a fresh perspective and above everything else, bring people together."

ZEE5 forayed into the Tamil entertainment industry last year with a diverse slate of Tamil originals. It included director Vijay’s teen dance drama Five-Six-Seven-Eight, the revenge saga Kolaigara Kairegaigal and mystical thriller Aindham Vedham. Films like Yaanai featuring Arun Vijay and Priya Bhavani Shankar of the Blood Money fame, Thamezharasan starring Vijay Antony, Suresh Gopi, Sonu Sood and Remya Nambeesan also featured on the platform.

Prabhakaran said this has been one of the most successful years for the platform with regard to its Tamil original content. "We had a varied range of shows which captured different sectors of audience," he said.

Vilangu and Ayali, entered the 100 million streaming club, becoming the top two titles. Shows like Paper Rocket, Valimai, Yaanai, Coffee with Kadhal and Veetle Vishesham also received an encouraging response.

The next exciting content offering on ZEE5 Tamil is Sengalam starring Kalaiarasan and Vani Bhojan. Written and directed by SR Prabhakaran, the show is rooted in Madurai culture and centers around three brothers of an influential family who are on a mission for revenge and the intriguing dynamics of politics and power-play between them.  

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