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ZEEL’s drive to become multimedia entertainment conglomerate

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) is known as a television broadcasting company, having a swathe of channels across genres and markets. But the Subhash Chandra-promoted company has a long-term mission: to establish itself as a multimedia entertainment conglomerate.

While continuing expansion in its traditional TV model, the company is structuring its business and operating framework with a clear focus on diverse revenue streams. The content strategy is being realigned to converge with the digital ecosystem. Much of that was seen in 2015-16 and will continue at a heightened pace in the current financial year.

The advent of digital has clearly meant a strategic shift from a broadcasting focus to a cross-platform strategy, with tailor-made content for specific audiences, operating in an ‘on-demand’ scenario.

subhashchandra“ZEEL is proactively reorganising its operations focusing on newer delivery formats and ramping up its digital business in line with the changing dynamics of the operating environment. Multiple initiatives are being undertaken under the digital part of our business. We were among the first to launch an over-the-top (OTT) platform Ditto TV to enable linear and on-demand content viewing. The launch of OZEE, our native content app, is another step in the direction of making all our network content available on an anytime, anywhere basis,” chairman Dr Subhash Chandra stated.

For effective control, content creation and revenue focus, ZEEL has consolidated all its digital businesses under Zee Digital Convergence Ltd (ZDCL). The company has created multiple digital offerings like Ditto TV and OZEE. While Ditto TV is subscription-led and offers live television from other broadcasters as well, OZEE is an ad-supported platform offering content from ZEEL channels.

With digital content increasingly becoming mainstream, ZEEL has adopted a twofold strategy. The focus is to drive larger market share of consumer eyeballs, push for inorganic growth through improved content services and leverage constant innovation to engage and ensure consumer stickiness on its media platforms. Monetisation will be through a mix of strategies including tie-ups with advertisers, targeted SEO and brand solutions.

ZEEL’s international OTT service, Zee Family TV, streams over 30 live channels and has 2,000+ movies on demand, besides 25,000+ hours of library content. The service is available across devices and in 152 countries.

Cultivating alternative revenue streams from movies, digital and music platforms is part of the company’s focus.

ZEEL, which nurses the ambition of becoming the world’s leading global media company from the emerging markets, has some staggering figures.

The company has over 222,703 hours of television content and houses the world’s largest Hindi film library. It has rights to over 3,818 movie titles from studios.

ZEEL has 38 international and 33 domestic channels, making it a globally appealing brand. Present in 171 countries, the network has a total viewership of over one billion people around the globe. The company invests in creating original content and monetises it through multiple revenue streams.

ZEEL plans to transform into an organisation with diverse revenue streams and multiple verticals, with each responsible for its profitability.

Going forward, the key pillars of the company’s content expansion will be Zee Theatre (to support India’s theatre industry), Zee Studios (to produce and distribute films), Zee Music Company (to publish and distribute premium Indian music) and the digital initiatives. Live events will also be a new vertical to build on.

While ZEEL will continue to focus on its core strengths, it will seek to build value in new businesses. The aim will be to make diverse content offerings in order to cater to fragmented audience preferences.

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