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Video OTTs going beyond India as overseas markets show signs of strong growth

Zee5 has seen growth in international markets as ARPUs go up to USD 8.

December 24, 2019 / 03:54 PM IST

Do you know there are around 18 million people of Indian origin in international countries? This makes India the leading country of origin of international migrants in 2019, according to new estimates released by the United Nations in September this year.

This means that there is a huge population probably looking for more Indian content for entertainment. Thus, making some of the foreign nations potential markets for video streaming platforms.

Platforms like Zee5 and Eros Now are focusing on these markets. Currently, Eros Now has subscribers coming in from 150 countries as of second quarter.

Zee5 is available in over 190 markets across the globe.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, said, “The international markets represent a strong opportunity given the higher ARPUs (average revenue per user) that one is able to drive with audiences in most markets having a greater willingness to pay for content.”


She added that Zee5 has seen growth in international markets as ARPUs go up to USD 8.

“Even with a low base, we have a good revenue per user. We’re targeting about 40 million South Asians in international markets so our addressable audience base is much smaller, and these audiences are extremely scattered across the globe. But we’re seeing a strong growth in subscriptions across markets,” said Anand.

But what revenue model works in foreign markets?

It looks like it is mostly freemium that works internationally. However, in more mature markets OTTs are betting on subscriptions. So, it is a mix of SVOD (subscription video on demand) and AVOD (advertising video on demand) depending on factors including propensity to pay, and the OTT's ability to build out audiences.

What is more interesting is that the video streaming platforms are customizing content as well as technology for the international markets.

Recently, Eros Now announced partnership with integrated digital media platform Verizon Media, to meet global consumer demand for high quality streaming of Indian cinema.

As for Zee5, the platform has dubbed a range of Indian content including Bollywood movies across five international languages including Bahasa Malay, Thai, Indo Bahasa, German and Russian.

Experts say that customer acquisition overseas will become the key hurdle that OTTs will have to overcome. Although there is demand for Indian content, reaching out and incentivising consumers to download and view the content will be both tricky and expensive.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Dec 24, 2019 03:54 pm

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