Home-grown video streaming platform ZEE5 is aiming for high double-digit to triple-digit revenue growth this year, riding on the momentum built over the last two years during the Covid pandemic, which acted as a catalyst for people to explore content online, according to a top company official.
The platform, which had recently unveiled 11 original series in Telugu as part of its strategy to cater to different languages in the country, is also making investments in terms of “hundreds of crores” this year for content creation.
“We have big aspirations and want to ensure we are achieving high double-digit or triple-digit growth this year as well,” ZEE5 chief business officer Manish Kalra told PTI when asked about the company’s revenue growth expectations for this year.
In FY22, ZEE5’s revenue stood at Rs 549.6 crore, up 31 per cent from Rs 419.1 crore in the previous fiscal.
Explaining the reasons behind the company’s bullishness, he said,”There is an opportunity and there’s intent for users to consume content online and more and more of them are coming…”
Also, Kalra said, there is “an appetite from us to create content, and provide the right kind of content to audiences. We’re in a high growth, high valuable industry right now and we intend to keep on growing significantly.”
On the impact of COVID-19, he said,”The pandemic acted as a catalyst for people to explore content online with players like us. We were able to produce good quality content which they did not find anywhere else. The transition happened, and we had the opportunity for more and more viewers to start consuming our content because they’d discovered this treasure trove of rich quality content which was only available on OTT platforms.”
When asked about investments, he said, “We can’t share absolute numbers but I can say, compared to last year, we’re looking to invest 1.3 to – 1.4x (times) this year, depending on how our content does.”
Stating that ZEE5 is seeing good growth with all the launches it has done, Kalra said, “So yes, we do want to double down and scale revenues and leverage our potential. For that, we are also making huge potential investments this year — ranging in significant numbers of hundreds of crores.”
The objective, he said, is to cater to the different needs of the consumers, and give them the content they like from the comfort of their homes.
“For that, we will get new content, from better production houses, quality character arches — all of which will be considered keeping the future interest of the platform in mind. Since we are getting rewarded with the consumers subscribing more and more on the platform, we are happy to meet the needs,” Kalra said.
Asserting that ZEE5’s strength is very much in Indian languages as it comes from the house of ZEE, he said, “We understand the Indian diaspora and understand their aspirations and the kind of real, relatable content they like, and have provided them with contents in Hindi, southern languages including Tamil, Telugu, and also in Punjabi and Bangla.”
The platform has received good response from the viewers in south India, he said, adding, “South is equal to Hindi in terms of viewership and subscribers that we have on the platform”.
Asked if the reopening of cinemas would have an impact on online viewership, Kalra said, “I believe we will work synergistically with cinemas and movie releases.”
Elaborating, he added, “Theaters have a certain audience but there’s also an audience which prefer to watch content from the comfort of their homes, which were then addressed by us — people who want to watch good quality content on their TV with good sound quality at home. So we’re seeing this synergistic relationship.”
Moreover, Kalra said, “We’re also seeing big theatrical movies do very well on ZEE5 even after we’re releasing them after the usual 30 to 60-day window.”
Commenting on the OTT platform market, he said, “People are subscribing to multiple OTT services on the basis of content they hear about and depending on the quality of content they hear about. So, we’re seeing an upswing on subscriptions across the industry.”
In this segment content drives demand, he said, adding, “when we are able to create good quality content or movies, the consumer has the appetite to be on multiple OTT platforms. So that’s where it becomes important to serve the right kind of consumer with the right kind of content.”