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Zee plans to do online original content: Digital First and Digital Exclusive

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Less than a year after Zee Entertainment CEO & MD Punit Goenka told MediaNama that the company would look at original content for Ditto TV “once the market develops and critical mass is available”, the company is now looking to do original content. At that time, Goenka had said that Netflix’s original shows “brought them marketing hype, but the actual consumption on Netflix is for content produced by broadcasters, who create hundreds and thousands of content a year, not just a few series,” and “the actual consumption in terms of number of hours still belongs to the traditional creators of content.”

On May 10th, when asked again about how strategic original content is for the success of digital platforms, Goenka appeared to think about it a bit differently, saying “I think it is essential that you have some original content on the digital platform, whether it is only produced for digital platform or it is produced for multiple platforms is a question that one can ask. We will be investing in the original content for digital platforms, or what I like to call Digital-First content. The quantum, etc., again, we can talk to you about it in quarter two.”

He declined to comment on ALT Balaji’s strategy, saying only that “Their content is pretty good.”

Zee isn’t under pressure because of Amazon and Netflix according to Goenka: there isn’t any kind of pressure on content cost because of an increase in demand (and possibly larger budgets) from the global distribution players. Goenka shrugged them off, saying “the amount of content that they are making is a fraction of what we are making. As I just called out, we do over 360 hours of programming in a week. For anybody to start doing that, it is not an overnight game in my view.”

There might be a battle for movie rights with Amazon and Netflix, before these movies hit TV. When asked about it, Goenka said that “Well, I know some people are doing deals which gets them exclusive windows prior to television. Any such deal, we stay out of it.”

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Digital Numbers

Zee is reworking their Ditto TV strategy, and there was — yet again — no update on its performance, or how the company intends to do things differently. Zee has tied up with telecom operators for access to Ditto TV content, after dropping subscription prices to as low as Rs 20 per month. The only data we have:

– Zee Music registered more than 2.2 billion views on YouTube in Q4-FY17.
– OZEE reported an average of 50 million views per month during Q4-FY17

On Digital Advertising

Goenka denied that digital advertising has taken away advertising share away from TV. “Large part of digital revenue … is still search revenue. What revenue digital competes with television revenue is only in video advertising. So, therefore, that is still very small piece to even comment on,” he said. “I think both digital and television advertising for video will be growing. While digital will grow at a higher pace than television, I do not see at least in the foreseeable future, where it will start eating into the TV pie.”

80% acquired in Margo Networks for Rs 75 crores.

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Zee recently acquired 80% stake in Margo Networks for Rs 75 crore, a company it had said had “developed a technology to set up server and compute infrastructure which will enable content consumption, and has the potential to significantly drive up the digital content consumption scenario.”

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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