Zee5 launches in the US to deliver a big dose of Bollywood to America

Indian streaming platform Zee5 is set to enter the US market later this month on June 22. It’s launching a subscription-only service, and aims to attract a large share of 5.4 million South Asians living in the country.

The firm is pricing the service at $49.99 per year as an introductory offer, and aims to change it to $84 at an unspecified time. The launch price is close to what some other services such as Apple TV+ ($4.99 per month) charge. But if you and your family are fans of south asian content in various languages, it’s probably worth it.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises launched Zee5 in India in 2018 with content in 12 languages. Over the last couple of years, it has expanded to 197 countries and has more than 72 million users. Notably, in other parts of the world Zee5 adheres to a freemium model.

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Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, told TNW on a call that the streaming platform has over 130,000 hours of content. She added that apart from India, the company also sources content from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Plus, it offers more than 40 live channels from the Zee network and other partners.

Live TV interface of Zee5
Live TV interface of Zee5

The platform has also dubbed some of its original shows in Thai, Malay, and Russian to offer more localization for viewers who speak those languages.

Zee5 is already adding 100 hours of content every day, and it plans to bring snackable stuff such as music, food, and lifestyle videos soon.

To attract more users, it’s also experimenting with digital premieres of movies. Last month, it released Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s Radhe as a pay-per-view. This paves a way for one-time users who might stick around the platform to enjoy other content.

The company is not really looking to take the likes of Netflix and Disney+ head-on. Instead, it’s trying to target the South Asian diaspora living in other countries. The US streaming market is estimated to be valued at $32 billion, so there’s surely some room for a niche streaming service that can live peacefully with others.

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