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Zee to shut down Zindagi and make it an app-only channel

Zee Entertainment will shut down its channel Zindagi, and is moving it to its video on demand (VoD) platform OZEE starting next month. Note that Zindagi’s lineup is already available on-demand on OZEE, so it’s unclear if any new features/services will be added on or not. In fact, Zindagi’s telecast was already being livestreamed on Zee’s other streaming service DittoTV.

This development comes almost a year after Zindagi discontinued all of its Pakistani programming, which was the channel’s mainstay at one point. While announcing this ban (in the aftermath of the Uri attack), Zee chairman Subhash Chandra said that the channel would now feature shows with the Indian Muslim community. That doesn’t seem to have entirely panned out. While the channel had launched a couple of original shows last year, the current lineup has no Indian content: it is now running a selection of Brazilian, Turkish and Korean series dubbed into Hindi.

Fun fact: Netflix India has more Turkish shows than Zindagi’s total line-up, and soon after Zee discontinued Pakistani shows Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Netflix silently added them to its catalogue.

OZEE was launched in February last year. It streams movies, TV shows, videos and music. At the time of the launch, the platform listed over 350 movies, most of them old Hindi and regional movies, plus various videos including trailers, recipes, and award shows among other. TV shows which are aired on Zee were also made available. As for music, the platform listed entire movie albums which are available as music videos.

Zee’s online efforts

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Zee’s online efforts are mostly led by its two streaming apps – OZEE and DittoTV. The company hasn’t disclosed specific numbers on usage for either app, but has indicated that they may rethink their digital strategy soon. In a call with investors last month, Zee MD Punit Goenka said that digital-first and digital-exclusive shows may soon be produced. The company also recently acquired an 80% stake in Margo Networks, a tech start-up that works on Content Delivery Networks. Margo’s CDN tech may help OZEE and DittoTV distribute their content more efficiently over the Internet.

On ad revenue, Goenka had said that video advertising is still dwarfed by search ads, and that while the former will grow over time he didn’t see “at least in the foreseeable future, where it will start eating into the TV pie.” He also dismissed online competitors like Amazon and Netflix, saying that “the amount of content that they are making is a fraction of what we are making.”

Written By

I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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

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