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ZEE5 forays into Punjabi language programming

ZEE5, the video streaming service owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, has announced its foray into Punjabi language programming with the premiere of around six movies on the service over the next six months. These include titles like Puaada, Qismat 2, Jinne Jamme Saare Nikamme, and Fufad Ji, starring the likes of Ammy Virk, Sonam Bajwa, Sargun Mehta, Binnu Dhillon and Gurnam Bhullar. The company will follow this up with originals and web shows.

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“There are about 3 crore Punjabi speaking audiences in India and the state has one of the highest rates of Internet penetration and GDP growth in the country. That makes for a prosperous population with disposable Internet that has remained underserved so far,” Manish Kalra, chief business officer, ZEE5 India, said adding that the overlap with Hindi often makes for lesser investment in original Punjabi content.

Because of the region’s exposure to the Internet and international culture, ZEE5 is looking at targeting a broad audience with core focus on the 18-34 age group but potential for 35-55 to also take to the content.

To be sure, both foreign firms such as Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video as well as local players have used the covid-19 lockdown to expand their footprint in the country, focusing on specific languages as niches. It helps that streaming content now is being watched by people as old as 55 plus bringing them into the fold of what was considered a medium for the young.

According to a report by Recogn, the market research division of digital marketing agency WATConsult released this July, 70% of Indians will access the Internet in their native languages by the end of this year. It adds that programmes around food, entertainment and education are always deemed better in local languages. An EY survey said that 21% of the respondents in non-metros claim they would spend more on entertainment as compared to 5% in the metros.

“We have a big regional content push planned this year. By January, we will roll out originals as well as movies in Telugu and Tamil followed by Bengali,” Kalra said. Business Journal

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