ZEE expands US presence with Dish deal

Indian media giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises has expanded its reach in the US through a “landmark” deal with pay TV service Dish.

Amit GoenkaThe agreement sees ZEE, which is currently making a concerted international push having hired several new executives, launching 27 new channels on the linear Dish platform and its OTT service, Sling TV, including the &TV Hindi-language network.

Combined with the ten already carried, ZEE now has 37 channels on Dish platforms and reach 52 million US homes. These are available in languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Bhojpuri, Oriya, Rajasthani and Urdu.

Furthermore, Sling TV becomes the exclusive provider of ZEE’s premium on-demand library, which comprises movies and more than 400 additional titles, and Dish will become the exclusive OTT for all but one of ZEE’s south Asian networks “over time”.

This will mean ZEE transitioning viewers from its direct-to-consumer services to Sling TV or authenticated access in the next few months.

ZEE’s CEO of international broadcast Amit Goenka (pictured) said his firm and Dish shared the same “vision on future growth of pay TV in the USA”, while Dish and Sling’s senior VP, programming, Chris Kuelling, said the deal would allow the pair to “better serve” the south Asian community.

“Our agreement with ZEE enables us to provide a vast amount of entertainment to fans of south Asian content, while also giving customers a more streamlined way to access and enjoy both linear and on-demand content,” he added.

Sling has been building out its pay-per-month offer since launch at the first quarter of last year. It has secured content such as AMC’s The Walking Dead and Mad Men and HBO’s Game of Thrones, and full channels such as Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, Food Network, Adult Swim, HBO, Epix and Cinemax.