For OTTs, regional flavour gets stronger

By: |
September 19, 2021 9:02 AM

Analysts at EY estimate the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms to cross 50% of total time spent by 2025, easing past Hindi at 45%

ZEE5 plans to launch a joint slate of over 30 originals and acquired content across Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi through October-MarchZEE5 plans to launch a joint slate of over 30 originals and acquired content across Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi through October-March

As more consumers are exploring video OTT (over-the-top) content, ZEE5 is tapping into the opportunity to expand its portfolio of regional content, a segment that attracts a considerable proportion of Indian viewers. As a result, the OTT platform is planning to significantly add to its slate of Telugu and Tamil originals in the coming months.

“We have already initiated production of several originals for Telugu and Tamil. We will be doubling down on Telugu starting December and scale it up significantly between January and March. The next stop will be Bengali content,” Manish Kalra, chief business officer at ZEE5 India, told FE in an interview.

The firm also recently made its foray into the Punjabi content space to build on the platform’s reach that currently stands at about 7 million daily active users (DAU). The local Punjabi-speaking audience, if catered to adequately, can give access to a sizeable market of over 3 crore users. “Punjab is one of the most highly penetrated internet markets in the country. In terms of OTT content, the target audience is highly underserved,” said Kalra. ZEE5 will initially stream Punjabi movies backed by Zee Studios for the users and subsequently launch originals.

Kalra said 30%-40% of the OTT company’s total content investments will be allocated to the regional content category going forward. As of last year, regional content’s share of total investments stood at less than 15%. “There is an intent from the user side to take to online content consumption. We have to talk to the Indian audience in the language that they understand,” said Kalra.

Analysts at EY estimate the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms to cross 50% of total time spent by 2025, easing past Hindi at 45%.

ZEE5 plans to launch a joint slate of over 30 originals and acquired content across Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi through October-March.

As uncertainty persists around the resumption of regular theatrical business and OTT releases continuing to find favour with film producers, ZEE5 is in the midst of striking fresh movie deals. It is, however, not clear if the films will have direct to OTT releases on the platform or ZEE5 will sign up for exclusive digital rights of the movies. “There will be a few announcements coming up in the next two to three weeks. Bollywood is a key driver for entertainment in the country..we will keep investing in theatricals,” added Kalra.

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