Zee5, a streaming service for South Asian content, is now widely available to all users in the US.
The service will bring 130,000 hours of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi programming to US audiences, including originals, music, Bollywood films, and health and lifestyle content, as well as more than two decades of popular TV shows. Zee5’s arrival in the US, which follows a beta test, will make it the premier destination for South Asian programming, with titles available in 18-plus languages.
While most content on the service will be available with English subtitles and some content is currently dubbed, Zee5 Global’s chief business officer Archana Anand told The Verge Tuesday that the service will likely dub more titles in English in the future as well.
The platform comprises both classic as well as contemporary genres and storytelling in over a dozen languages. The service launched in more than 190 countries in 2018 but had yet to make its way to the US. In May, the service’s parent Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited reported Zee5 as having 72.6 million monthly active users and 6.1 million daily active users as of March 2021.
Its massive content library includes more than 3,500 movies and 120-plus digital premieres, more than 1,600 series, and 200-plus originals. The service will also add 100 hours of new content daily, an impressive content feat that far outpaces many of its English-language contemporaries.
Anand told The Verge that the service will specifically target younger demographics of users with its content. This could, in the future, include the “gamification” of titles on the service as well, Anand said.
“We will look at building levels or rewards points which our users can unlock by the number of times they come back to watch content weekly and monthly, thereby driving greater stickiness,” Anand added.
During a Tuesday launch event that teased some of the forthcoming content available on the platform, the company revealed the service would launch in the US at a competitive monthly subscription cost of $7 a month, or $84 per year — though the service will offer a limited annual promotional price of $50. Students, meanwhile, will be able to subscribe for a discounted cost of $5 per month.
The company has previously said that Zee5’s US launch is “especially significant at a time when Indians in the U.S., many of whom remain deeply connected to their roots, are unable to travel home.” During Tuesday’s event, actress and chief guest for the service’s US launch Priyanka Chopra underscored the value of the service’s “hyper-localized” stories and content, particularly for South Asian communities.
“When you’re away from home, there’s a longing you have for home,” Chopra said. Streaming in particular, Chopra added, has made these stories accessible in a way that theatrical releases in the US simply cannot not.
The service is now available online as well as on Google Play, the App Store, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Android TV, Fire devices, and Roku.