With regional content gaining prominence on digital in the past two years, streaming platform ZEE5 has strengthened its content library for Telugu speaking viewers. 50% of users consume regional language content, Punit Misra, president – content and international markets, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, said. “Up until 18 months ago, our viewers were skewed towards Hindi content with Hindi speaking market (HSM) accounting for nearly 70% of viewership while the remaining 30% used to come from regional content. This was mostly due to the supply constraints that we faced,” he told BrandWagon Online.
The OTT platform plans to roll out 11 original content for its Telugu speaking audience in FY23. The content slate will include a gamut of genres ranging from thrillers, comedy, drama to romance. In addition, viewers can watch Telugu dubbed movies and original content from ZEE5’s library. This announcement is in line with the platform’s focus towards strengthening its presence in the southern market. It is to be noted that ZEE5 had announced a Tamil content lineup for FY23 with 20 films and series. “The Tamil and Telugu market is very competitive. Hence, we wanted to make sure that in these markets we have a substantial play,” he added.
The platform claims to have recorded a rise in viewership of regional content. As per the company, Tamil film Valimai fetched 500-million streaming minutes on ZEE5 worldwide. Similarly, Telugu film RRR seems to have received 1,000 million streaming minutes within 10 days. ZEE5 has been ramping up its southern content slate via both acquiring and commissioning content. While the company acquires movies, it claims to have collaborated with independent production houses and commissioned the original content slate. “In the past we may have syndicated a couple of content at the time of lockdown due to supply constraint. However, in this slate, we haven’t bought any content or entered into syndication deals but have been a part of content production from the starting,” Misra elaborated.
While the company did not reveal its exact investment details for the southern market, it did however emphasise on the importance of the market. For Manish Kalra, chief business officer, ZEE5 India, South is an important market for ZEE5 and the platform is consistently expanding its presence in this market across languages. “The response from the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region has been encouraging and we did foresee a growing appetite for Telugu content worldwide. We have significantly boosted our investments in this market and stand open to collaborate with the creators for content,” he highlighted.