Shwetha Iyer on leveraging AI to drive Innovation at ZEE5

In this Research NXT Interview, Shwetha Iyer, the Head of Marketing at ZEE5, talks about her journey with marketing technology from being a provider to an actual user of it. She also gives us a sneak-peek into ZEE5’s innovation initiatives with user-generated content and the areas where AI is extensively leveraged to ensure seamless audience engagement across the platform.

Key takeaways from this Research NXT interview:

  • Importance of hyper-personalization in an OTT platform and ZEE5’s take on it.
  • How ZEE5 is leveraging AI to create, moderate, and serve real-time user-generated content?
  • And, the various avenues that are available for advertisers to leverage the ZEE5 platform for precise programmatic targeting.

Here are some extracts from the insightful conversation we had with Shwetha Iyer.

We would start by learning about your journey in the Marketing Technology front in both the B2B and B2C brands that you were associated with. How do you see it progressing within multiple segments across the industry?

Shwetha: I am an advertiser turned marketer. So, my journey covers pretty much everything marketing. From being an advertiser with traditional channels like TV, radio, print as a part of my agency stint, I moved and spent a good six years in B2B at IBM, which was an excellent opportunity for me like any other marketer. In IBM, I started by heading marketing for Big Data & Analytics and moved on to launch Watson in India. Its where I learned the science of marketing that is related to customer segmentation, creating cohorts, and the application of campaigns across channels. Then Vodafone was an extension of that; however, it was hybrid where marketing was for both B2B and B2C segments. And now, at ZEE5, pretty much every single learning that I had through the journey in terms of understanding tech, creativity, and, most importantly, understanding the consumer has been put to use.

It is great to see that from implementing marketing technology for clients at IBM, you are currently using technology to power your marketing efforts in ZEE5.We would surely like to know more about how you are leveraging technology at your current role in ZEE5?

Shwetha: My current role in ZEE5 requires me to be at the helm of the innovation initiatives around user-generated content, gamification, and kids segments. This is a part of our endeavor to onboard younger audiences on our platform and offers them interactive and immersive experiences. We are using technology to lead us into the journey of becoming a super-app, which also involves the use of AI for creating better products and experiences through hyper-personalization at scale.

At ZEE5, we have developed AI-assisted methodologies that take in to account multiple factors to identify user attributes that allow us to serve content recommendations that enhance the in-app experiences.

From a marketing standpoint, how important is personalization in an app or OTT platform?

Shwetha: It is vital and it is one of the pillars on which the ZEE5 platform is built. At ZEE5, we term it hyper-personalization, where user attributes and behavioural insights are used to deliver superior and relevant recommendations based on each individual’s preference.

Are there any AI use cases that you would specifically like to mention that will help ZEE5 achieve business growth?

Shwetha: Yes, one important use case of AI for ZEE5 is around user-generated content, which we will launch in June 2020. This will counter platforms like TikTok, wherein users will be able to create and showcase their self-generated content. In fact, no other OTT platform has done this till now, where the platform is being opened to be used by the audience to generate content. However, while doing so, the most critical aspect will be content moderation, and this is where we will be using AI tools. Creating a safe and secure space for our creators is of paramount importance, and We will be leveraging AI to analyse every single piece of content to ensure content sanity through real-time moderation.

Our recent research on the Indian Content Marketing scenario identified that video is the most preferred and consumed content type among Indian consumers. How do you see OTT platforms like ZEE5 enabling and supporting marketers with video-based content strategy?

Shwetha: Since all our content is video-based and most of our marketing content is also videos, so we provide a wide variety of options for every user segment. Our video-based content ranges from movies to web series, documentaries, short-form content, music, and gamification. We are also shortly going to foray into the UGC space with the launch of our hypershorts platform. So, within the video space itself, ZEE5 is innovating extensively to keep the users engaged.

Secondly, ZEE5 allows various avenues for advertisers to leverage the platform. ZEE5’s exclusively curated Ad Suite features – Ampli5, AdVault, PLAY5, Infonomix, and Wishbox. These advertising opportunities help brands benefit from precise targeting and segmentation capabilities to deliver measurable results.

At ZEE5, we have developed AI-assisted methodologies that take in to account multiple factors to identify user attributes that allow us to serve content recommendations that enhance the in-app experiences.