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Zee5 launches ambitious Pakistani series in a bid to capture audience

Zee5 launches ambitious Pakistani series in a bid to capture audience

Zee5 Global is looking to cash in on niche and global audiences with the launch of its fourth and most ambitious Pakistani series "Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam" (An Ode To Murderous Beauties) which is directed by Indian-British writer Meena Gaur. The show is a seven part noir anthology that will debut on Zee5's streaming platform in over 190 countries (except Pakistan).

Shot fully in three cities in Pakistan, the series has been described as an "ode to the imperfect woman" by Shailja Kejriwal who heads the creative direction and actively ropes in Pakistani shows for the OTT channel.

"I believe there is a wealth of stories that need to be told if we go beyond the tropes of the goddess and the slut," she told Al Jazeera. "Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam is one such anthology that celebrates, and is an ode to the 'imperfect' woman."

Kejriwal was also involved in the Zee company's channel 'Zindagi' which was launched in 2014 and exclusively broadcast Pakistani shows like 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai' that brought mainstream attention to Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. The Indian audience was receptive to Pakistani shows and there was growing demand for them for their quality and content according to Zee.

However, following the attacks on Indian Armed Forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Uri in 2016, the channel was forced to withdraw all its Pakistani lineup.

It has been steadily lining up a host of Pakistani shows with the capacity to attract not just niche audiences but also global attention, an Al Jazeera report said. Currently, Zee5 has only a 9% share of India's streaming market – much lower than its foreign competitors Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+Hotstar, which together claim 57% of the pie, per report by the RBSA.

Zee is also set to merge with Sony Pictures Networks India which holds around 4% of the market.

Digital subscription revenues in India in 2020 were up by 49 percent as 28 million Indians signed up, nearly three times the 10.5 million paid subscribers the previous year, according to a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Ernest & Young (FICCI-EY).

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