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Exclusive interview: “Rather than pushing content to the users, we start listening to the users” ZEE Digital CEO Rohit Chadda opens up about growth strategy, future strategy and more

BY: -Harshita Dagha

Tell us about how you plan to further your comscore rankings?

ComScore rankings are never our end goal. The goal is to make the most relevant content for users across languages, genres and geographies and to distribute that content through world class products that provide the best user experience.

Once you start doing these well, the rest follows. We’ve strongly focussed on our products and content strategy over the past year and a half which has helped us grow and reach where we are today. However, I believe we’re still at the tip of the iceberg. We’ll continue to execute our plans with a customer first approach and concentrate on doing what’s best for the user. I’m sure the numbers will follow.

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

Users on digital have evolved a lot over the past decade. They are smart and know what they are looking for in a product.

The only way to build loyalty for your platform is to provide them with what they are looking for. We have taken a data and technology driven approach to content to ensure we are producing the right kind of content.

Which genre is breaking the internet today – business, finance, bollywood or regional? 

Entertainment commands a strong share of content consumption on the internet and shall continue to do so. However, the next phase of growth is coming from regional. We’ve launched 3 new languages and 8 regional content brands on digital in the last financial and have seen tremendous growth coming from these.

Which Zee Digital entity has seen maximum growth this year? 

India.com – our flagship brand witnessed maximum growth over the past year. Its seen 4.5x growth in users in a span of only 1 year (June’19 to June’20). We’re building India.com to be a one stop destination for Indians and Indo-philes. With that in mind, we have launched the India.com android app last month and are super excited about the future potential of the brand and the product.

Any scoop of what are the next 3 months going to look like for Zee Digital? 

Offering a personalised experience is key to build user loyalty. This is something we’ve been working on for some time now and we hope to introduce that to our users over the next quarter.

Pure analytics and strategy or creative ideation? What has managed to get those numbers for Zee Digital?

It’s a combination of process and product that has helped us achieve the growth that we have. In terms of process, we’ve tried to operate like a Tech start-up. Tech start-ups are known for their speed, agility and data-driven approach to problem solving.

Rather than trying to implement big projects, we do a lot of small experiments and track their results to know what’s working and what’s not. This iterative process helps us learn and change paths if required very early on in the lifecycle of any project.

Further, we’ve taken a data and technology driven approach to content. Rather than pushing our content to users, we started listening to the users and understanding their preferences to produce relevant content that they are looking for.

Who are your favorite competitors in the market? And why? How do you plan to outdo the numbers? 

User Attention is one of the most valuable resources of the digital age. Digital products today are competing for users’ limited attention. The modern economy increasingly revolves around the human attention span and how products capture that attention.

Every company that is producing or distributing content is dying for the user’s attention and hence can be called competition. In this era of attention economy, our largest competitors are Google and Facebook. While they have built excellent products, our strength lies in content.

Now, with our strong focus on product & technology, I’m sure we’ll soon become the largest digital platform in the country.

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