Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) will be launching its new digital entertainment platform ZEE5 in the second half of FY18, reports Television Post. The report also mentions that the new digital platform will replace its existing subscription and ad-based platforms DittoTV and OZEE, and that DittoTV and OZEE subscribers will be auto upgraded to the new platform.

Note that, Zee is already doing that with its global digital strategy. In May this year, the company launched Z5, a global platform which consolidates its Subscription and Advertising video on demand platforms. Running those businesses separately never made much sense anyway.

The content on ZEE5 will include content in regional and local languages, exclusive content, movies, and Live TV, as OZEE is an advertising video on demand (AVOD) platform, which allows the viewers to watch all of Zee’s content on the go, including TV shows from ZEEL, music from Zee Music Company, and movies in Hindi and regional languages. During the fourth quarter of FY17, the platform witnessed an average of more than 50 million video views per month. And, DittoTV, a subscription based video on demand (SVOD) platform, launched in 2012, offers over 90 live channels and seven days of catch-up content.  DittoTV was relaunched this year at a much lower price of Rs 20 per month, and tied up with telecom operators for billing and distribution, including with Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and BSNL.  We have reached out to Zee Entertainment to get more details, and we will update the post as soon as we hear back from them.

Zee Digital Convergence

In August, we reported that Zee is merging its digital media and entertainment business undertakings of Zee Digital Convergence Ltd, including the Ditto TV and Ozee businesses, vesting it with the parent company ZEEL. In addition to this, it is emerging the online media business of India Webportal Private Ltd (which ran India.com and its affiliated websites) vesting that with ZEEL as well. It seems that instead of the companies being merged into the parent entity, the business undertakings are being transferred.

In 2016-17 (FY17), Zee Digital Convergence Ltd, the company that houses two of the Zee Group’s digital businesses – DittoTV and OZEE – reported a turnover of Rs 18.9 crores, and a loss after tax of Rs 45.1 crores, according to the Annual Report from its parent company ZEEL, which houses the Zee Group’s entertainment businesses. This was a significant change from a turnover of Rs 46.4 crore, and a loss after tax of Rs 32.3 crores that the Zee Group reported for FY16. Zee had transferred Ditto TV and its digital business into Zee Digital Convergence Limited in FY16, and had launched OZEE towards the end of that financial year.

Competition

Its immediate rival, STAR India runs video streaming business HotStar. The number of other platforms operating in India is large, from Netflix, Amazon Video, to ALT Balaji, Hungama, NexGTV, Yupp TV, among others. On global content aggregators like Amazon and Netflix entering India, Punit Goenka, CEO and MD of ZEEL had earlier said that “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.”