Originals won't clash with Netflix, Amazon Prime: Zomato

The app is now streaming episodes of food-related content, but can the twain meet, in a cluttered video-streaming market?

Published: Sep 24, 2019 10:47:23 AM IST
Updated: Sep 24, 2019 10:51:15 AM IST

g_121559_zomato_originals_280x210.jpgImage: Courtesy Zomato

Our decision to launch Zomato Originals is determined by user behaviour. For certain categories like food and travel, users do a lot of research, reading and watching before and after their transactions. They’re inherently well-suited to content. That was Fact No 1 for us. Fact No 2 is the amount of time people engage in watching videos about food is extraordinary. For both Facebook and YouTube, they’re the second and third most-watched categories.

The link between users making decision on the Zomato app about their meals and them consuming content around food is something we feel strongly about. It’s logical and organic. There are many reasons to come to the Zomato app; some are loyalty driven and some engagement driven. We thought food content would be a great way to experiment how we can push those boundaries. When you come for delivery, can you also think about health and food, about dining out, about sustainability? Content has traditionally made people think about verticals in a broader sense. Given the amount of time users spend on the app, it’s a great way to get them to think about many other aspects of food.

When I started thinking about formats, I was clear we needed to do what is native to our user experience, which is ad-driven, involves vertical scrolling, and a session time that is not driven by watching long pieces of content like Netflix and Amazon Prime. So, our shows are between 3 minutes and 11 minutes. We’re experimenting with the vertical format, key to the app experience, and have met with a lot of excitement from directors.

We’re not competing with Amazon Prime or Netflix; it’s very much about food for us. I do hope that at some point, people come to us to watch content, but it’s hard to even think of the two in the same line at this point. I don’t think Zomato Originals is anyone’s competitor. There are learnings from players like YouTube, where we know that recipes work, that users employ playlists, and so on. But brands nowadays can no longer do with a single narrative, because users engage with them in different and discreet ways.

You’ll see videos related to travel, the history of food, explainers etc. We’re also looking for ways to engage our restaurant and user communities. We do not have ads for the videos currently, but we do have sneak peeks and other restaurant-centric content, syndicated and licenced.

You will always see our shows being made keeping our economics in mind, which are not similar to OTT economics. We are closely watching user feedback and trying to find the right formats for us. You’ll see these pillars develop over the next three to six months, and we’re confident that users will enjoy the experience.

Senior vice president–growth at Zomato, commissions Zomato Originals

(As told to Pankti Mehta Kadakia)

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