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Ditto TV identifies original content as pillar of growth

MUMBAI: ZEEL’s over-the-top (OTT) platform Ditto TV has identified original content as one of the key focus areas to drive growth.

Last month, the OTT platform had forayed into original content with the launch of instrumental musical show called ‘Life Is Music’.

Debashish Ghosh“We will focus on original content going forward because that will drive Ditto TV as well,” said Zee Digital Convergence Ltd (ZDCL) CEO Debashish Ghosh.

The OTT player is looking to produce original content in various genres like horror, humour, TV series, movies and short films. These will essentially be short-format content designed for digital audiences.

ZEEL had recently consolidated its digital businesses India.com web portal, which is a joint venture with Penske Media Corporation, and Ditto TV under ZDCL.

Ghosh revealed that Ditto TV has 1.8 million paid subscribers out of which 20,000 are from overseas while the rest are from India. The Ditto TV app has been downloaded for five million times.

The next target is to take Ditto TV to newer markets and offer local content in those markets.

“At this point, we are present in 176 countries. We are focusing on markets like the US, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, Asia Pacific and some parts of Africa, except Latin America, which we may look at in future,” he stated.

Ghosh categorically stated that Ditto TV is not just an India-focused OTT platform. “We are not looking at Ditto TV only as an Indian platform. It will carry non-Indian content shortly in the markets where we have launched. So in the Middle East we will carry Arabic content which may not be ours,” he noted.

The idea is to make Ditto TV a product that can be used not just by Indian expats, but also by any diaspora population. “Take the Vietnamese population in the US who could watch Vietnamese content on Ditto TV,” he said.

Talking about the business model, Ghosh said that Ditto TV started as a paid product and that it would continue to remain so.

“In a free model, you need millions of viewers to be able to monetise it appropriately, whereas in a paid model even if you have 1,000 subscribers, it essentially offsets your cost and helps you build a platform stronger,” he explained.

Ditto TV is also exploring the freemium model considering its success in international markets.

“In paid subscription, not everything is paid. There is a lot of content on Ditto TV that is free but it has to be within the subscription proposition,” he said.

The platform has also worked on unbundling to offer meaningful content to subscribers at an affordable price. “As in DTH, unbundling is happening in the OTT space too. You unbundle to offer the best possible mix of content that is relevant to subscribers,” he said.

Ditto TV has packs ranging from Rs 150 for a month to daily packs of Rs 10–20 depending on the content. Daily packs are the most popular, followed by monthly packs.

“The price point should not hurt the consumer. Therefore, we have flexibility in terms of packs whether somebody wants to choose daily pack, or weekly pack or monthly pack,” he averred.

Come August-end, the OTT platform will launch customised packs like regional, women’s content, and sport. In sports, Ditto TV only has channels from Ten Sports stable.

Ghosh pointed out that apart from live TV, Ditto TV also has video-on-demand (VoD) content including TV shows and movies. Both live TV and TV shows are important from a selling proposition, he said. In movies, it offers all the movies in the ZEEL library.

VoD content on Ditto TV goes up in five minutes in case of Zee content, while in case of other broadcasters it takes 1 hour.

Throwing light on consumption trends, he said there is a lot of second and third TV consumption happening in the homes on Ditto TV. Users also watch content on the move like TV shows. Apart from fresh content, a lot of archival content also gets viewed.

Ghosh also noted that general entertainment channels, short-format videos, and live TV like news channels work well on the platform.

Except Star India and Sun TV Network, Ditto TV has channels from most of the leading broadcasters including Multi Screen Media (MSM) and IndiaCast besides of course ZEEL. Ditto TV offers more than 140 channels.

“Most of the broadcasters have been with us for two years. This shows that they see value in this platform. No channel has gone away from us,” he asserted.

Apart from leading broadcasters, Ditto TV also works with a number of independent content producers like Jai Hind TV. The OTT platform generally does revenue share deals with broadcasters.

Ghosh is expecting a 100 per cent jump in revenues this financial year. “We closed last year with significant revenue on Ditto TV. This year, we are looking at doubling that. We are looking at over 100 per cent revenue growth this year from Ditto TV,” he affirmed.

It had recently launched a marketing campaign with the theme ‘Akele TV kaun dekhta hai yaar?’ (Who watches TV alone?). It is focusing on digital, TV, and events to take the campaign forward.

In the US, Ditto TV is one of the sponsors for the India Day Parade, Ghosh said.