Interview: We observed a 200% surge in Kids viewership says, Aparna Acharekar

Aparna Acharekar ZEE5 Kids

With the ongoing lockdown, ZEE5 launched bespoke content for kids. Aparna Acharekar, Programming Head, ZEE5 takes us through the content, marketing, and monetization strategy of the OTT player.

As Zee5 Kids gets ready to enter the competitive space, Aparna Acharekar, Programming Head, ZEE5 takes us through the plan to remain steady & emerge out of the lockdown with an established base.

Edited excerpts.

Please take us through the ZEE5 kids’ #NonStopBachFun campaign. What is your programming strategy for the lockdown?

ZEE5 Kids was launched like a one-stop destination for Kids, Parents & Educators to consume, create, and contribute. As part of phase 1 launch, ZEE5 Kids will be a repertoire of 4000+ hours of entertainment content encompassing varied genres, languages, formats, and age-group based curations.

In the future, it will also allow the creation of user-generated content (by kids and Parents), sharing and community building features, along with interactive formats of engagement like Karaoke, Audiobooks, DIY videos, Gaming and more.  

With some big players in the market, how will ‘ZEE5 Kids’ have an edge?

The entire framework of ZEE5 Kids has been designed to provide a safe and secure environment for the entire family to help preserve the innocence and encourage curiosity in children.

And as a part of our future endeavors, BachFUN will be at the core of every feature we launch, which includes UGC, Karaoke, Audiobooks, skill-building shows, gaming, and more. Apart from this, we have other additional interactive activities planned. So, ZEE5 Kids aims to be like a wholesome experience instead of just being a streaming platform.

In addition, we have a partnership with Eduauraa for learning along with content accessible to the kids from ZEE Learn. Also, our other alliances with Cosmos and Lionsgate will be an added value for the Indian families.

In our last conversation, we spoke about the relevance of originals in current times. Are you bringing original content for kids too? P

Digital video consumption numbers are only growing. A company with a serious amount of content should be in the forefront of producing original digital content. It is the need of the hour and it has to be done fast and dynamically and hence we are extensively focusing on original content. ZEE5 is focused on generating content relevant to Indian audiences, both in India and abroad.

The kids’ content is launched in 9 languages such as Hindi, English, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, and Bhojpuri.

The content made specifically for children as well as parents.

We also have a few originals that we will be launching on ZEE5 Kids which will be exclusive to us:

  • Gadget Guru: An animated TV show and movie series based on a superhero character that will take kids on his fun adventure trips
  • Guddu: A story about Guddu – the fun lion and his troupe of friends who fight Billori – the evil cat and her gang in the most passionate way.
  • Bapu: A situational, light comedy & educational series promises to take you on a trip to know all about Bapu aka Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his great deeds

What is your marketing strategy amidst COVID-19 and lockdown? What is the idea behind involving influencers and bloggers on social media channels?

We realize the gloominess that the nation faces today and hence the need to boost the entertainment quotient. As a responsible video streaming player, we are committed to undertake any preventive measures which would collectively help the entire ecosystem curb this unprecedented situation caused due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Keeping in mind the current scenario, with the coronavirus scare and big companies taking a backseat from any sort of mass gathering, we at ZEE5 launched a new initiative #BeCalmBeEntertained.

As part of this initiative, ZEE5 will bring a slate of new original shows helmed by India’s finest actors for its users to stream it across devices. Through this, ZEE5 aims to offer content to AVOD users for free to keep people entertained in their homes during such times.

As a part of the community building initiative, ZEE5 Kids will be educating mothers on the diverse content line-up, safety measures, and smart features through initiatives like blogs, stories, fun challenges, tutorials, etc. These mothers will also be from the mommy blogger community and influencers in their own way.

The platform & its social handles aim to also reach out to parents and engage with them to share expert advice that they are seeking. Hence host live chats with mental health experts, nutritionists, coaches, etc to share tips and advice with parents on the overall well-being of their kids will be a value add.

Also read: Marketers must question themselves about how they can spread positivity: Rishabh Sharma, Twitter

What was the insight behind entering the Kids’ genre? Please share the data points that led to the decision for ZEE5.

ZEE5 Kids was planned to be launched during the beginning of summer vacations, however, we had not anticipated the pandemic which would hit all of us

The objective behind launching kids is to attract a new cohort of viewers aged between 4-12 years on ZEE5, thus making ZEE5 an OTT destination for the entire family.

Other than ZEE5 Kids, we are also in the process of launching our gamification platform soon. The details will be shared as and when we are ready to announce the same.

What are the content consumption trends that you see in the kid’s audience? Which content hooks work best for them?

ZEE5’s subscriptions have seen a spike of 80% during this period and a shift in consumer behavior across demographics.

One segment that has garnered prominence in these times is the kids’ sector with a recorded 4X growth in the average time spent online from its 2015 status.

In fact, the BARC-Nielsen’s 4th edition report observed that there was a 46% increase in viewership during the fourth week of the lockdown from the pre-COVID period in the Ages 2 to 14. For

For ZEE5, we observed a record 200% surge in Kids viewership. Kids and parents alike have shifted their focus on digital content, especially in these times, to fulfill their children’s entertainment and education needs through the available online content.

Top OTT content consumption patterns observed during the COVID-19 period?

Emerging trends and data insights into changing consumer behavior due to lockdown:

  • The pandemic has led to an increase in smartphone usage to 25 hours per week from 23.6 hours, as per a Nielsen report
  • With no new shows on TV and restrictions on print media, there is an 87% increase in the time spent on digital platforms daily
  • To meet the growing entertainment needs, OTT platforms are to see a spike in viewership by 1.6X with an 80% increase in average time spent per viewer
  • As consumers stay at home, consumption on connected devices has grown by up to 3X

These trends have resulted in a steady growth of consumption and engagement on ZEE5 with:

  • 15% increase in Daily Active Users (DAU) and a 22% increase in Monthly Active Users (MAU)
  • Sustained new user growth across the spectrum of devices – from feature phones to connected TV
  • Increased consumption across all time-bands of the day with a 92% increase in movie viewership and a 37% increase in consumption of ancillary content
  • 78% surge in news viewership with growth across languages – Hindi, English & Regional
  • 200% increase in Kids viewership

What will be Zee5 Kid’s monetization strategy? Do you think you shall be able to generate ROI on kids’ content by the next quarter?

As of now, ZEE5 KIDS is a part of ZEE5 and does not have a separate subscription model. ZEE5 users can access ZEE5 KIDS for free currently and the monetization will be through ads. Perhaps when we launch other originals then we might have a separate subscription model subsequently.