Zee’s Arabic OTT platform Weyyak celebrated a successful first year since launching in May 2017, with three million unique users on the platform and 10m video views during the month of Ramadan. The streaming service which also recently signed an agreement with Sharjah Media City has so far relied chiefly on dubbed Indian shows and Arabic drama series to grow its audience.
Nadine Samra, VP Digital Business MEA for Zee, commented on the platform's reasons for growth: “Weyyak just completed the first anniversary in May 2018; we have launched successfully on several devices including Apple TV earlier this year. We are very encouraged by the huge numbers that we got during Ramadan. We had launched a number of Indian drama series dubbed into Arabic exclusively on the platform such as Asrar Banaty (Badalte Rishton Ki Dastaan), Noqta Ala Sater (Doli Armaano Ki) and Begurarai. These drama series were launched during Ramadan but continue to run with new episodes on our platform.”
“We are constantly looking at adding new content and have a big library of Arabic and Indian-dubbed content. But in our quest for more exclusive content, we are also looking at new partnerships. We currently have over 10 thousand hours of HD content with more than 600 titles. About 45% of the library is Arabic content and 55% is exclusive Indian dubbed into Arabic,” Samra added.
As part of its growth strategy, Zee will continue to look for new ways to boost its library of exclusive content. The platform recently signed an agreement with Sharjah Media Free Zone (SHAMS) to encourage media students and new local content creators to send in their short films and productions, which if they meet Zee's standards, have the potential to be showcased on Weyyak. Besides giving them a platform to feature their content, the cooperation with SHAMS will include training programs and guidance for Sharjah’s media graduates by Zee.
Commenting on the SHAMS agreement SAMRA said: “We have a lot of expertise and infrastructure so we can provide the necessary training and advice as well as internship for media students from Sharjah universities. The agreement includes cooperation on several different levels. Our aim is to encourage new talent and provide them with a platform to feature their content. Young people bring a lot of creative content and creative ways of implementation and directing. We are very optimistic that we will receive content to the standards that we want. This collaboration between the private and public sector is very important to reach out to creative talent out there.”