“ZEE5 global MAUs and DAUs stood at 65.9mn and 5.4mn respectively in Dec’20,” Zee Enterprises said of the company’s streaming service in a presentation to investors.
- Trying pay-per-view: Zee5 is experimenting with transactional video-on-demand as an additional source of revenue (as monthly fees from subscribers aren’t more than Rs 100 in India). Seven films have been released under this model, the company said.
Zee5 lost out due to TV biz shutting down
- Negative Covid impact? An investor pointed out that in spite of the large amount of original content on Zee5, the conversion of viewers to active users was very low. Punit Goenka, CEO and MD of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, said that a large part of the “funnel” to add users was TV catchup content from Zee’s television shows, and those were disrupted in Q1FY21 due to the pandemic. “We’ve been building the base back from that period onwards,” Goenka said, indicating just how serious the problem was for the streaming service. OTT services generally benefited from lockdowns, but those that had fresh original content to release fared better.
- Two hour average watch time: Engagement of users is an important metric for streaming services. Netflix’s viewership in the US stood at around two hours a day in 2019. Zee5, which doesn’t have anywhere nearly as large a collection, clocked 133 minutes per viewer per month on average. The company released 18 new shows and 2 new films during the quarter.
Economics of Zee5
- Subscriber growth “in line” with revenue: Zee didn’t provide numbers (as is general practice) on the number of paid subscriber it has. But it said that growth was in line with how the business was doing overall. In response to a question on the economics of annual subscriptions, Zee said that they continuously have such offers running.
- “Standoffs” with telecom operators: Telco distribution is one of Zee5’s largest growth channels. That too was disrupted by the pandemic, Goenka said. “We have had standoffs with multiple operators, given the fact that a key property came only the third quarter of this fiscal year, and therefore we had to get off some platforms for commercial reasons. So that’s a battle that continues to go on and it’s something that we continue to fight going forward as well.”
Financial snapshot — Q3FY21 (Zee Enterprises)
- Operating Revenue: Rs 2,729 crore (up 33.2 crore YoY)
- EBITDA: Rs 715.7 crore (up 26.5% YoY)
- Profit After Tax: Rs 399.9 crore (up 14.4% YoY)