global: ZEE5 Global’s subscription revenue up 35%, says executive

Zee Entertainment Enterprisesglobal streaming platform, ZEE5 Global, is growing its subscription revenue by 35% year over year, with the United States being its largest market, a senior company executive said.

ZEE5 Global chief business officer Archana Anand said the platform contributes 30% to ZEE5’s B2C subscription revenue, even as the subscriber base remains lower compared to India.

She added that the average revenue per user (ARPU) in global markets like the US and UK is very high compared to India.

“However, the challenge is finding Indian diaspora in any country because they are a small part of the population that is scattered,” Anand said. ZEE’s OTT business is demarcated into India and Global, with the latter having a presence in over 190 countries and offering 2.5 lakh hours of content across 12 Indian and six international languages.

“The ZEE5 Global business offers more bang for the buck for the company because we are monetising the same content in global markets,” she added.

In FY23, ZEE5 recorded a 35% growth in revenue at ₹741 crore, while the operating loss expanded by 47% to ₹ 1105 crore.Anand said ZEE5 Global’s primary target audience is the 40 million strong South Asian diasporas that are spread out globally. Its key markets include the US, UK/Europe, and Middle East, besides Australia and Singapore. ZEE5 Global, which claims to have become the top South Asian OTT player in the US, hit the 1 million active user base mark in the market in October. As part of its next phase of growth, the platform has launched the Add-ons aggregation service in the US. The service is akin to Amazon’s Prime Video Channels but for the South Asian diaspora.

It has partnered with Simply South, Oho Gujarati, Chaupal, NammaFlix, EPIC ON, and iStream for the aggregation service. “There is a demand to launch this service in other global markets,” Anand added.

Anand said that the Add-ons service is a new revenue stream for the platform and is a win-win for all parties involved. She noted that the cost of acquiring one customer in the US is $90, which makes the streaming business unviable in that market.

“Through ZEE5 Global Add-ons, OTT content partners will get instant reach to the South Asian diaspora while consumers will not have to subscribe to multiple services,” she added.

It is pertinent to note that Star India-controlled Novi Digital Entertainment‘s Hotstar exited the US in 2021. Disney+ Hotstar was called Hotstar in the US.

In fact, Novi Digital had sold the Hotstar US business to Buena Vista Video on Demand (BVVOD), a unit of Walt Disney, for Rs 178.13 crore.