The video streaming market is a cluttered space with digital services of network companies
as well as pure-play rivals vying for eyeballs. Zee Entertainment Enterprises, which has recently launched its new digital entertainment platform called ZEE5, has come up with a music video-style brand campaign that seeks to highlight the new platform as one distinguished with content in an array of regional languages.
The multilingual “brand anthem”, titled “Apni bhasha mein feel hai” and set to catchy tunes by film musician Amit Trivedi, is close to three minutes long, with two versions—one for the southern market and the other for Hindi-speaking audiences. Its lyrics comprises phrases from 12 Indian languages to stress the point that the English language cannot match the raw and quintessentially Indian expressions captured in the vernacular. While the song and dance and the sets remind the viewer of the typical movie number, the emphasis on language appears repetitive.
Archana Anand, digital head, ZEE5 India, says India’s digital story would be fuelled by new language consumers and that’s where the new platform “fills a need gap in the Indian market for not just language content but a complete language experience in accessing that content”.
Asked about Zee Entertainment’s turn to video streaming, she points out that the network company in fact pioneered the OTT industry in India, with DittoTV which was launched in 2012 as a subscription-based service offering Live TV, TV shows, movies and videos. “This was relaunched as a focused live TV service in 2016 at a Rs 20 price point, ‘Bees ka TV’. We also have OZEE launched in 2016 as a VOD (video on demand) destination for all catch-up content from across the network channels,” she adds. Digital is playing a critical role in fuelling Zee’s next phase of growth as a group, therefore it was critical to ensure it had a strong offering and presence in the space through a comprehensive digital entertainment destination in ZEE5.
A strong focus on languages will be ZEE5’s key differentiator, says Anand. ZEE5 is promising 100,000 hours of content across originals, Indian and international movies and TV shows, music, live TV, and health and lifestyle videos across 12 languages.
Russell Barrett, chief creative officer and managing partner, BBH India, adds that the southern market is extremely important for Zee and paying lip service was not an option. “The idea that the team came up with was simple and intuitively honest. There’s just a different feeling when you talk, write and watch stuff in your mother tongue. The creative task was to demonstrate this thought in a fresh and memorable way and not just talk about it.”
Ayan Banik, head of brand strategy at Cheil India, agrees all of us are most comfortable while speaking our mother tongue, but a music video is not a unique approach to communicate the same. “The product integration is also weak out here. It is only creating awareness for the product proposition, because you already have Hotstar (Star India) and Voot (Viacom18) available in the market, besides Airtel TV, Tata Sky TV, etc. So, in that scheme they are launching an app where people can see all the regional content of Zee. There is nothing new at a product level,” he adds.
According to reports, at the close of last year, streaming platform Netflix topped video streaming apps in India by revenue for 18 months, while Hotstar, the digital platform of Star India, came second.