38 networks, 600 million pay TV subscribers, 168 countries. Such promising numbers are a clear indication that a company such as Zee TV must expand its business onto western markets. Its most recent -and most ambitious- project, Veria Living Worldwide, is just the way to do it.
"Unlike any other broadcaster in India, Zee is a local company: it's not bound to any global service such as Fox or CNN. Therefore, one of our main strategic goals is to compete in the global market on mainstream," said Suresh Bala Iyer, CEO at Zee TV USA, one of the company's many offices across the globe.
The executive highlighted Zee TV's recent accomplishments: "Our flagship service is currently Zee TV, which is available in several languages: Russian, Arab, Indonesian, French, and we also hope to produce in Spanish for Latin America," he said.
Up until last year, these services were always associated with Bollywood and local Indian production. Yet, the company's second goal for Veria is to create a completely new service for the international market; rather than an Indian service adapted to the rest of the world.
"This service is Veria Worldwide: a 24-hour network devoted to wellness, that's also a great brand related to wellness. There's no other service like it in the world; there are some fragmented brands such as Discovery Health, yet wellness doesn't have a real home in the world of media," he said.
Veria includes a linear TV channel -which is expected to also be available for web-connected TVs and OTT platforms- as well as content available for VOD. In addition, Veria's website (Veria.com) is designed as a online video platform, which will also be available through apps.
The executive explained how the idea came together: first, Veria (a name which comes from the Latin term "veritas", meaning "truth") was created as a subscription service, yet shortly after their strategy changed. "It's become an advertising-led service. This frees up the brand because we are not limited to just TV; we see ourselves as a content brand available on a spectrum of media labels," he said.
Meanwhile, Raymond Donahue -programming sales SVP at Veria- believes current and potential audiences interested in this genre are massive, and there are no cultural nor geographic boundaries between them. "We can customize programs, build brands and special offers. Our goal is that, when people think of healthy content, wellness, fitness, lifestyle and cooking shows, they think of Veria," he said.