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Zee & Airtel partnership to offer digital content on Airtel TV & ZEE5

Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) has entered into a content sharing partnership with Bharti Airtel, reports Economic Times. This development comes within a month of ZEEL removing all content from Reliance owned Jio Digital Services, after both the companies could not reach a pricing agreement.

As a part of its current deal with Airtel, over the next three years, ZEEL and Airtel will work on creating exclusive video content for Airtel’s video-on-demand app Airtel TV and ZEEL’s streaming service ZEE5.

In addition to getting access to ZEE5’s content via the Airtel TV app, the telecom major’s mobile and broadband customers will get exclusive access to ZEEL’s premium content such as TV shows, original series, and movies. According to reports, Airtel will include all content from ZEEL in its Rs 499 bundle.

ZEEL will hope to leverage the large user base of Airtel TV as it will reportedly receive a fixed amount every time its content is consumed on Airtel’s platform. It will also receive consumer viewership data from Airtel in order to offer curated content to subscribers. According to reports, the company is keen on acquiring user data as it will help it understand its customers and therefore, create content that is targeted at them. So much so that, going forward, ZEEL will continue to seek ‘consumer insights’ in any other partnership that the company may engage in.

For ZEEL, the deal is largely seen as a replacement for the recently collapsed partnership with Jio. However, the company claims that its partnership with Airtel is independent to that from any other operator and that it would continue to seek fresh partnerships, including with Jio. Punit Goenka, MD, ZEE told ET that the company would ‘love to offer its content on Jio’, provided they get a fair value.

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ZEE5 claims to offer over 375 live TV channels, and more than 10,000 shows, movies and other videos. Currently, the platform operates on a freemium model, with the paid premium section offering additional content like original shows, movies Zee Theatre Plays and Zindagi Digital shows among others. Last month, the company said that it is going to launch original content in 6 languages.

Video streaming in India

Over the last few years, the video streaming market has become competitive, with a number of international and domestic players offering their services either via a freemium model or at dirt cheap prices. The sharp decline in both internet and smartphone prices has also aided its cause.

ZEE5 and Airtel TV will compete with major players like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc, besides other domestic players like Hotstar, Voot, AltBalaji, Vodafone Play, Jio Tv and JioCinema, etc. Times group, too, with its recent acquisition of MX Player is planning to begin streaming exclusive content as an OTT platform. Also, Instagram recently announced its entry into long-form video with a new app IGTV, which will also run as a separate tab within the Instagram app.

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