Navigating diversity: ZEE5 Global masters the art of diaspora marketing in a heterogeneous landscape: ZEE5 Global’s Archana Anand

Navigating diversity: ZEE5 Global masters the art of diaspora marketing in a heterogeneous landscape: ZEE5 Global’s Archana Anand

Having free/ AVOD content also helps us attract larger audiences for top-of-funnel marketing.

Archana Anand

Mumbai: In a constantly evolving streaming landscape flooded with new content and numerous OTT providers competing for viewers' attention, the plethora of choices can be overwhelming for consumers. In this era of expanding content options and increasing viewership, addressing the specific needs of our audience becomes progressively crucial.

As a key player in the global OTT industry, ZEE5 Global not only recognizes but actively prioritizes the importance of comprehending the intricacies of the global viewer. Acknowledging the strong affinity for South Asian content among the global diaspora, ZEE5 Global has taken intentional steps to curate an extensive and diverse library of titles, tailored to meet the varied preferences of our viewers.

Archana Anand is a high-performing business leader currently helming the Strategy and P&L verticals of ZEEL’s streaming business globally. She also spearheaded the launch of ZEE5 India, followed by ZEE5 Global across over 190 countries.

Anand has over 24 years of experience in the Media and Service space, she has managed three Streaming Platforms, two of which she oversaw from ideation to launch.

A recipient of the "Inspiring Woman Leader", IIM Bangalore Alumni award for "Corporate Leadership", she is known for her excellent people management skills with proven strength in pulling diverse teams to deliver on stretch goals for the organisation successfully. Anand is adept in all aspects of the OTT/Streaming Business, her specialities also lie in brand and performance marketing, business development, product marketing, and crafting pioneering consumer experiences. in conversation with ZEE5 Global chief business officer Archana Anand on tackling consumer expectations, understanding the Indian diaspora customising content and being price sensitive…

Edited Excerpts:

On ZEE5 Global’s take on the consumer being spoilt for choice with so many OTT platforms and content overload, and their plan to tackle this

The proliferation of streaming platforms and the abundance of content available has on one hand spurred the growth of the industry and thrown up opportunities. However, it has also surfaced multiple challenges. Too many platforms, too many options to search through, multiple subscriptions that are heavy on the pocket- all these are key concerns expressed by consumers and echoed by our diaspora audiences as well, which we too along with other platforms, look to address.

On strategising and targeting the diaspora audience across countries on various aspects, being a global player

It’s been one of our key challenges to target and market to the diaspora scattered across different markets and an extremely heterogeneous mix at that, making it impossible for us to stick to a single plan when designing our outreach.

To tackle this, we’ve looked at a very tailored strategy to reach our consumers by targeting them in key catchment areas like retail outlets and grocery stores across markets, local events etc. We’ve also had a targeted approach to reach students through a series of networking events conducted across 150 campuses within the U.S. to enable South Asian students to bond and feel more connected to home. Many of our outreach initiatives tie back to our culture and festivals but also to local events and special days e.g., Black Friday, amongst others.

On the most preferred content for the diaspora audience

Movies drive a significant chunk of our viewership across markets as diaspora audiences throughout the globe remain deeply tuned into the latest film releases. We also continue to see steady viewership for older hit movies. Our originals have also been performing extremely well across both movies and series.

In the US for example, our largest market, viewing increased 35 per cent year-on-year with original content having grown as much as 46 per cent over the last year. Globally, dubbed, and subtitled content has also picked up pace, with significant viewership coming for content outside of its original language. Additionally, viewers have also shown higher viewership across genres like thrillers, drama, and comedy.

On ZEE5 Global which has a wide range of South Asian content, other than the diaspora audience who are your customers that consume it heavily

Indian content especially Bollywood movies has always resonated well with mainstream audiences across markets from the USA to Germany, the Middle East and more. Today, audiences across the world are experimenting with content in international languages more than ever before, and much of this has been enabled through the availability of dubbing and subtitling. We have non-diaspora audiences as well across many markets enjoying the content on ZEE5 – be it movies and much-loved TV shows, and we only expect this trend to grow hereon.

On any insights on the viewing preferences of diaspora audiences across the US

The US is our largest market today, driving over 40 per cent of our total viewership and one where we command a strong leadership position among South Asian platforms. With the tremendous reach we have in the market, we have deep insights into the consumption habits and viewing preferences of South Asians. For instance, Movies and Originals are key viewership drivers, as are TV shows from across the Zee Network channels. When it comes to specific genres, dramas have done well, clocking 60 per cent viewership growth, followed by comedy and thrillers recording a 58 per cent increase in viewership.

When it comes to geographic viewership, markets with high aggregation of diaspora audiences like California, New York, New Jersey etc. record the highest viewership on the platform.

On the different innovations and marketing strategies to get more eyeballs and to get newer customers in the global markets like the US region

To amplify our presence in the USA, we have leveraged digital marketing and targeted media campaigns extensively to reach our audiences. Apart from this, strategic partnerships and community-driven initiatives like festival and cultural event connect, movie screenings, student connect programmes, and more are some of the key strategies we have used to reach our audiences. We also launched the Global Content Festival to give independent filmmakers across the globe a platform through which they could take their content to a wider audience.

On the global market, what works better AVOD or SVOD

It varies from market to market. Some markets are more price-sensitive than others as a function of their earning power, the economy and other factors. We therefore follow a hybrid approach - with our TV Shows largely being available free for users and monetized through ads while all premium content is SVOD and behind a paywall. Having free/ AVOD content also helps us attract larger audiences for top-of-funnel marketing. The US is one market where we are fully SVOD, and that strategy has worked well for us.