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Television on tap

Ditto is a high-cost gambit for Zee Entertainment, but it’s the only way to be future ready

It’s 10 pm and Khushi Sengupta’s just left work. The 28-year-old insurance marketing manager settles back in the cab and whips out her iPad. No, not more work — it’s time for her daily fix of soap opera and since Sengupta won’t reach home for another hour, she’ll just catch the current episode on her tablet. With the launch of Zee’s television distribution platform in March, it’s become easier for people like Sengupta — who are always on the go and can’t watch TV by appointment — to stay up to date with their choice of shows. All they need is to download the app on their smartphone, laptop or tablet — the content is delivered over the internet. 

Mobile live TV isn’t a new concept — internationally, Netflix and Hulu have shown how it can become a billion-dollar revenue stream. In India, though, it’s not worked out too well, so far. The market leader Zenga offers the service for free and even Star India, which was the first broadcaster to announce distribution plans on new media, has recently made the service available at a download fee of $0.99 when it launched the app last November. Zee unveiled its version in March and so far, it’s pleased with the reception: Ditto TV — named because it gives the same experience as TV — has picked up around 250,000 users. 

But it’s going to take a while before Ditto catches up with Netfli

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