ZEE5, a streaming platform focusing on South Asian content, has presented originals across languages and genres with meaningful and purposeful content. And now, with the launch of the platform in the U.S., the world of multicultural entertainment has opened for Indian American viewers and mainstream audiences across the U.S.
The much-anticipated streaming service was launched in the U.S. June 22 during a virtual event headlined by Archana Anand, chief business officer at ZEE5 Global, with Indian actress/producer/entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas joining her as a special guest.
During the mega event attended by media and consumers from the U.S. and across the globe, Chopra also joined Anand in unveiling ZEE5’s upcoming content slate and its new global brand campaign: “Welcome to South Asia: Stories from Our World.” The campaign spotlights stories from South Asia, where even ordinary stories are extraordinary, therefore leading to the narrative, “if this is our reality, imagine our stories.”
“I have really enjoyed celebrating and spotlighting all the incredible talent from South Asia today,” said Chopra. “I look forward to watching these storytellers entertain new audiences around the world and will be cheering them on from the side lines.”
The multiple announcements were interspersed with conversations between Anand and Chopra with the latter commenting on how streaming services have changed the landscape of content viewing, and on the hunger among South Asian communities to watch their own hyperlocal content and see themselves being represented to international audiences, and how streaming services were key in providing such a platform to help people feel represented.
As far as catering to younger audiences was concerned, Chopra told India-West that it’s a very “interesting” time for Indian content but also a “tricky” time.”
“I think it’s going to be very important for the zeitgeist, the Gen Z, which is outside of India and may be not very exposed to Indian cinema. I think for them to get interested, the kind of content we are seeing on streaming services right now is where they are getting interested,” she told India-West. “I think the new content that’s being created in the last five years, you see such a massive variety of content and I think there’s an audience for all of it. I think young people will be very excited about getting hyper localized content just for them, which is where they stand in their lives, in their minds.”
“Bringing ZEE5 into the U.S. is so much more than just providing the South Asian diaspora here with a mega entertainment platform through which they can access a vast library of stories,” stated Anand. “It is a powerful bridge between them, their culture, and their languages. It is also a real-time connect between them and their families as they get to watch the same content across the ocean. And it is a platform through which their stories get showcased on an international stage.”
She also spoke about a key strategic partnership that the streaming platform has locked in with the North American Association of Indian Students that will help ZEE5 build strong connect with a much younger audience.
“The launch of ZEE5 in the U.S. is a very significant moment for us,” added Amit Goenka, president, digital businesses and platforms, at ZEE Entertainment. “We’ve had a long association of over two decades with this market, bringing our viewers here the best of Indian entertainment through our channels. With ZEE5, we now look to offer both these audiences and the younger demographic access to a much wider choice of premium content with our originals, digital premieres and more, on any screen of their choice and with a completely personalized viewing experience.”
As part of the launch, the streamer announced an incredible line-up of originals and other blockbusters, across languages, to release on the platform in the coming months:
• The upcoming magnum opus, “RRR,” from “Baahubali” filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, starring N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan and Bollywood superstars Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt, in all south Indian languages.
• The Sunil Grover starrer “Sunflower” and Akshaye Khanna’s OTT debut, “State of Siege: Temple Attack.”
• New seasons of ZEE5 originals, “Abhay 3,” “Rangbaaz 3,” “The Test Case S2,” and “Code-M S2.”
• Returning seasons of the recently acquired TVF Originals Pitchers, “Tripling,” “Humorously Yours,” “Aam Aadmi Family,” and “Engineering Girls.”
• Pankaj Tripathi’s “Kaagaz” and Arjun Rampal’s “Nailpolish.”
• The Amitabh Bachchan starrer, “Jhund,” made by Nagraj Manjule.
• Tamil Releases: “Handcuff,” “Blood Money” and “Vinodhiya Chiththam.”
• Telugu releases: “Losers 2,” “Lol Salaam,” “Oka Chinna Family,” “Net” and “Shoot-out at Alair” starring Prakash Raj.
• Bangla releases: “Ladies & Gentlemen,” a 10-episode Bangla Web series directed by globally renowned director Mostafa Sarwar Farooki.
• Pakistani releases: Asim Abbasi directed original series, “Churails,” Mehreen Jabbar’s directorial venture, “Ek Jhoothi Love Story,” and “Dhoop ki Deewar” starring Sajal Aly and Ahad Raza Mir.
Audiences in the U.S. now have access to 130,000 hours of stories from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, ranging from Bollywood blockbusters to originals to popular TV shows from Zee channels. Music, health, and lifestyle videos will be added soon.
This content is available in Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, as well as Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Arabic, Urdu, and Bangla (Bangladeshi) with key titles dubbed and/or subtitled in English.
For Hindi speaking audiences, ZEE5 offers a range of content across formats, including “Kundali Bhagya,” “Kumkum Bhagya,” and “Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai!” The library also includes blockbuster films like “Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai,” “Uri: The Surgical Strike,” “Kedarnath,” “Simmba,” and “Dream Girl,” among others.
Also available on the platform are Telugu shows and films, including “Sita on the Road,” “Naa Peru Surya Na Illu India,” “Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava,” “Srimanthudu,” “Krishna Tulasi” and “Mithai Kottu Chittemma.”
The vast library includes much loved Tamil titles like “Sembaruthi,” “Rockstar,” “Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal” and “Thirumathi Hitler.”
Along with popular Bengali shows like “Mithai,” “Kori Khela” and “Rani Rashmoni,” the library also includes hit original Bangladeshi productions, “Contract,” “Jodi Kintu Tobuo,” and “Mainkar Chipay.”
Viewers can also watch a bouquet of Pakistani shows like “Gauhar-E-Nayab,” “Teri Berukhi,” and “Mere Humdum Mere Dost.”
Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google play store/iOS app store; on Roku devices; Samsung Smart TVs; Apple TVs; android TVs; and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.
Users can buy a monthly pack for $6.99 – students can get the same for $4.99 – and an annual pack heavily discounted from $84 to $49.99 as an introductory offer.
Watch the launch event here: