In just 2 years, the digital arm of Zee Group, Zee Digital has managed to turn heads around with its stupendous success, while navigating its way through the ruthless Covid-19 pandemic. Zee Digital continues to reach new landmarks and strengthen its presence in the digital world crossing the 300 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users) mark in April 2021. Zee Digital has also successfully launched 31 websites, 20 brands, and 12 languages in such a short span of time, proving that innovation and determination can triumph over trials.Also Read - Zee Group Opens Its Technology And Innovation Centre In Bengaluru. Details Here

In a recent interview, Zee Digital CEO Rohit Chadda, credited for this transformation, shared his success mantra and how he kept pace with evolving technologies to scale new horizons. Also Read - Watch BGR Tech Excellence Awards 2021 LIVE

What helped you reach the goal of 300 million users for Zee Digital in such a short time span? Was it analytics or creative ideation? Also Read - Big Win For ZEEL as Bombay High Court Bars Invesco From Calling EGM

To achieve the kind of growth that we have, analytics and creative ideation have to go hand in hand. With a tech and data-first approach to content, we’ve worked on digital transformation of all functions to become a digital-first organization. Bringing data into each conversation helped us track day-wise and hour-wise performance for each of our brands.

What strategy works best when it comes to luring readers to your platform?

Catering to readers’ needs first is the only way to lure them to any platform. On digital, publishers need to find any and every way to listen to what the user has to say. When you start creating your content strategy as per the users’ preferences and build a strategy to enable easy discovery and consumption, the growth will follow. As Mobile contributes to 95% of our users, our entire product roadmap is focused on mobile-first. We launched native mobile apps for 5 of our major brands – India.com, Zee Hindustan, 24 Ghanta, Zee Business, and 24 Taas.

We also did the largest Progressive Web App launch for 13 of our national and regional news brands covering 9 languages to offer a seamless news consumption experience on the mobile web to cater to low-end smartphone users and users in low bandwidth areas. The future of digital content lies in 3Vs – Video, Vernacular, and Voice and that’s what our focus has been.

How lockdown helped in booming the digital platforms of Zee?

Just like other brands, the lockdown resulted in an increase in content consumption for us. But unlike other competitors, ZEE sustained user growth even after the lockdown was over. In fact, during the lockdown, ZEE Digital became the second-largest digital media group in the country.

Which genre is being loved by the users the most – health, business, finance, Bollywood or regional?

Because of COVID, health obviously grew very strongly as people want to learn how to keep healthy. Business and finance also followed closely due to the high economic uncertainty. Bollywood and Entertainment did see a challenge initially during the lockdown with a lot of movies postponing/canceling their release date but the industry adapted and bounced back taking very strongly to OTT.

Which Zee Digital entity has seen maximum growth this year?

While the network witnessed growth across the portfolio, the largest growth contributions came from flagship brands like India.com (11x growth), Zee News (3.4x growth), DNA (4.3x growth), BollywoodLife.com (5.2x) and WION (7.8x).

What all new initiatives we will be seeing from Zee Digital in 2021-22?

There will be a continued strong focus on vernacular languages in India. We’ve launched digital-only news brands in Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada to expand our reach in South India. Further our digital brands like India.com, BGR, Bollywood Life and The Health Site shall also see the introduction of more languages to cater to a larger audience in the country. Zee News, India.com, and DNA will also extend their digital news coverage to key international markets.

OTT platforms have become users’ no.1 choice these days. How is Zee Digital planning to compete with them?

During the 2020 lockdown, we launched OTT apps for Zee News, our flagship news brand to capitalize on the increased adoption of OTTs. Later, during US presidential elections, we did a first of its kind digital-first global launch of our international news channel WION making it available on 4 billion connected devices globally which received tremendous response in the global market.