Streaming Wars: The Battle for Diaspora Viewers

As streaming behemoths like Netflix and Amazon fight to win the U.S. South Asian diaspora market, Indian streaming services are throwing their hats into the ring.

Poulomi Das

June 15, 2021

Streaming Wars: The Battle for Diaspora Viewers
Netflix user in Toronto, Ontario (Mollie Sivaram)

On June 10, Indian broadcast giant Zee Entertainment announced the U.S. launch of ZEE5, a video streaming service that the company hopes will capture the attention of the country’s 5.7 million-strong South Asian diaspora.

With its U.S. launch, however, the company is entering an overcrowded market that is increasingly targeting the South Asian diaspora. It will be competing against global giants — like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ — as well as targeted sites like YuppTV, Eros NOW, and Einthusan.

ZEE5 — like India’s Disney+ Hotstar, which launched in the U.S. in 2017 — hopes to stand out by giving the South Asian diaspora same-day access to content released in South Asia, in multiple regional languages. ZEE5 promises to bring the diaspora “the largest aggregation of South Asian content on a single platform.” But does that claim hold up?

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer of ZEE5 Global, is confident that the platform’s content will draw in audiences. “We have content for every key Indian language-speaking community in the U.S. — the Telugu communities in Texas, the Tamilian communities in California, the Bengalis in New York and New Jersey,” she told The Juggernaut. “There’s a huge love for Bollywood in this market among even mainstream audiences, and our library of 3,500+ movies caters perfectly to that.”