Israel startup Applicaster inks first-of-its-kind business partnership in India, to revamp Zee5 app
Homegrown OTT platform Zee5 has entered into a partnership with Israel tech startup Applicaster in what is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Indian and Israeli companies. The partnership seeks to utilise the bonhomie between the two countries and pro-collaboration policies between India and Israel, and has been facilitated by the Embassy of India in Tel Aviv.
Zee5 is a part of the Rs 32,900-crore Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, and is available in 190 countries. It competes with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, and others in an increasingly cluttered digital entertainment market.
Applicaster, meanwhile, is a leading cloud platform for media and TV app development, having built enhanced applications for top global media brands including DirectTV and Televisa. Zee5 is its first partnership in India.
Over the next few weeks, the entire Zee5 platform will undergo a revamp based on changing viewership patterns and preferences of OTT audiences worldwide. Applicaster will enhance the Zee5 user interface and user experience with its state-of-the-art tech, and also improve features and functionality to bring about a rich, seamless, and personalised viewing experience.
Tarun Katial, CEO, Zee5 India, said, "Our journey over the past year has given us immense insight in terms of the changing behaviour of OTT viewers. This knowledge complemented by the technological prowess of Applicaster will result in a delightful experience for the Zee5 viewers the world-over.”
Rajneel Kumar, Business Head - Expansion Projects & Head of Products, ZEE5 India with Jonathan Laor, Co-Founder and CEO, Applicaster, and Shri Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to Israel at the Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Zee5 currently has 61.5 million monthly active users (free and paid) and aims to reach 100 million users by the end of 2019. The platform houses over 100,000 hours of on-demand video content including 80+ live TV channels, 3,500 films, 500+ TV shows, 4,000+ music videos, and Zee5 Originals across 12 languages. The app also offers multi-language navigation, playback and content download options.
Speaking of the partnership, Jonathan Laor, Co-Founder and CEO, Applicaster, said,
“Throughout our discussions, Zee5’s passion for delighting their customers through rich user experiences was clear and matched our beliefs perfectly. Applicaster will minimise development time and integrate the best-of-breed components necessary to deliver an industry-leading user experience to their users.”
Interestingly, Applicaster is one of the 14-odd Israel tech companies Zee5 has tied up with to fix core functional and experiential issues in its app. However, this could be the most significant of all partnerships given Applicaster's expertise in the media and entertainment domain.
Rajneel Kumar, Business Head- Expansion Projects & Head of Products, Zee5 India, told YourStory,
"Applicaster's agility and speed of innovation is what attracted us to them. Through this tie-up, all specific areas of the Zee5 platform - from sign-ins and subscriptions to video compression, search, and playback will be improved upon."
The Zee5-Applicaster deal was inked in the presence of Shri Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to Israel. He said, "India and Israel share a deep bond of friendship with extensive commercial linkages... This iconic partnership will set the tone for such collaborations going forward in the fields of innovation and technology.”
(The writer was in Israel on invitation from Zee5.)