Recent escalation of tension between India and Pakistan has prompted Zee5, the over-the-top platform of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, to look for newer markets in Southeast Asia.
In January this year, Zee5 Global Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amit Goenka had said Pakistan and Bangladesh were markets on which the company was focusing for expansion. There was a soft launch of the service in the neighbouring countries in October last year, and a marketing campaign — “Share the Love” — was launched earlier this year.
But, as relations deteriorated between the two nations over this week, Zee5 has been rethinking its Pakistan strategy. “We will not be focussing on our neighbouring market,” said a spokesperson from Zee5. “We have shifted focus to the high-potential Southeast Asian markets.”
The spokesperson said: “We have recently announced partnerships in the SE Asia region, with Dialog in Sri Lanka and Apigate across multiple markets. There are more in the pipeline. One big announcement will be made next week.”
During India-Pakistan tension, films and sports are usually the first to be hit by bans. Businesses take proactive steps to ensure least damage.
Another Indian OTT platform also available in Pakistan is SonyLIV. The company did not respond to queries about their plans.
Pakistan has around 45 million internet users, with 27 million of them using smartphones, according to market research. India has about 335 million smartphone users.
But, despite being a smaller market, it is a low-hanging fruit for Indian OTT services in terms of expansion as there is low competition and high demand for Indian content.