This year, the home has emerged as centre of the consumers’ universe, thanks to the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Multiple surveys have found that people do not want to step out of their homes unless absolutely necessary; and with outings and vacations practically at a standstill, consumers are trying to make the most of staying at home—aided by big-screen televisions and OTT platforms.
With cinemas shut, ready-for-release films made their way to OTT platforms, delighting many movie buffs. On Tuesday, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEE) took it up a notch when they announced the launch of Zee Plex, which a company release described as “India’s 1st Cinema2Home (C2H) service on television and digital platforms”. The service will allow consumers to watch their favourite new release in the comfort of their homes, “at an attractive (per film) price point”. Zee Plex is scheduled to launch on October 2, the company’s foundation day, the release said.
“We are very excited to bring this new offering to all the movie buffs across India and around the globe. While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatres, we sensed the need for a solution like Zee Plex, which gives the consumers flexibility and convenience, to catch their favourite films in the comfort of their homes, along with friends and family. We have received great interest from producers and are looking forward to release a strong slate of blockbusters across languages,” said Shariq Patel, CEO, Zee Studios.
Zee Plex would be available as a pay-per-view service to subscribers of direct-to-home (DTH) distribution platforms such as Dish D2h, Tata Sky and Airtel Digital TV, said Atul Das, chief revenue officer–Affiliate Sales, ZEE. “We believe Zee Plex will provide another opportunity for our partners to offer a unique and pioneering service to their consumers across different languages. We very much look forward to developing this opportunity in the coming years.”
Zee Plex would also be available as a C2H service on ZEE5—ZEE’s OTT platform—globally and in India. According to the company’s release, ZEE has established strategic alliances with distribution partners in the international markets. Zee Plex would have new releases every month. The 24x7 service on distribution platforms will have screenings at different time slots throughout the day, and consumers will be able to book their shows before the movie premieres on the platform, using multiple payment options, the release said.
“Along with convenience for consumers, this new movie distribution model will enhance the overall commercial ecosystem for the film producers, enabling them to present their creative work, to a wider range of audiences on established entertainment platforms,” the release said.
Earlier this year, Amazon Prime had snapped up seven Hindi and regional films for a digital release—including Shoojit Sircar-helmed Gulabo Sitabo (starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana)—and Netflix bought the rights to Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, featuring Janhvi Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, and Angad Bedi. Then, Disney+ Hotstar launched its Multiplex service on July 24 with Dil Bechara, which was late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film. Since then, the platform has released Lootcase (starring Rasika Dugal and Kunal Kemmu), Khuda Haafiz (featuring Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi), and Sadak 2, which marked the return of Mahesh Bhatt as a film director after 20 years and featured his daughters Pooja and Alia, Sanjay Dutt, and Aditya Roy Kapoor.