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Thread Contributor: jpjaExclusive: Zee Keralam to launch in Q3 FY19
MUMBAI: Though the general notion has been that Hindi GECs are the most watched shows across the nation, the truth is far from that. Over time, broadcasters have realised that if they want to rule India, they must cater to the various languages.

Some strong regional TV consumers are in the southern part of the country. When it comes to Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel), it witnessed a 19.1 per cent viewership share (CY 18 YTD), while in South it stands at 31.8 per cent growth share over the last fiscal. The network has achieved dominance in metro markets including Bangalore and Hyderabad. Having four dedicated channels in the South market, the network is now set to expand its footprint by launching its fifth channel, Zee Keralam, in the general entertainment channel (GEC) space. In terms of consumption power, the market stands exceptionally with 81 per cent HH’s in NCCS ABC, which is highest in the country.

The Kerala market contributes 3.7 per cent of national viewership, where Malayalam GECs bag 57 per cent of total viewership. The sector is jam-packed but Zeel sees scope to grow with 90 per cent TV ownership and people’s willingness to take pay channels.

Zeel south cluster head and Zee Tamil business head Siju Prabhakaran said, “Any market you enter, there has to be a competition. But we have seen that whenever we have great content and if you give the right kind of content, the POT of those markets has actually grown. The best case was in Tamil where there was Sun TV and Vijay TV, and general assumption was that people were very happy with whatever the content is being served to them but then there comes Zee Tamil at a market share of 20.7 per cent in the year 2018-19. In the case of Zee Keralam, we will offer original content.”

The channel, launching in Q3 of FY19, has a programming line-up of seven fiction shows, two non-fiction shows, one afternoon game show and one morning show. In addition, the channel has also conceptualised a cinema-based speed news show.

With south contributing to the 33 per cent of viewership and overall share in the industry, the network claims to have 25 per cent of the viewership raking in from its south channels. Zeel CMO Pratyusha Agarwal said, “South contributes 33 per cent of viewership share and overall also. But on ad revenue, it is still at 23 per cent of the market share and there is a huge scope for the category to grow there. In terms of viewership, south contributes four hours of viewership and national for about two hours of viewership.”

Prabhakaran added that in the past two years, it has been the largest contribution as a cluster along with the Hindi movie channels. “The growth has been primarily on the basis of growth, where Zee Telugu is a strong number two player with 688 GRPs and 25.7 per cent genre share in the urban GEC segment. Fiction contributes around 56 per cent (382 GRPs) to total Zee Telugu viewership of 688.” Telugu movies have been a great success for the network to break even within a year, he said.

Some of the tentpole shows in the Telugu umbrella are Mudda Mandaram, Kalyana Vaibhogam, Maate Mantramu and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Talking about the upcoming attractions, fiction show - Prema and non-fiction shows like Aata Juniors, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs are in the pipeline.

Also, its Telugu movie channel, Zee Cinemalu commenced with 122 GRPs and 22 per cent genre share in urban areas. It stood at number two in urban with 182 GRPs and 26.5 per cent genre share and number one in Hyderabad with 229 GRPs and 30.3 per cent genre share in FY19.

When it comes to the Kannada segment, it is on an aggressive growth path since week 20 of 2018 with an increased market share from 24 per cent to 30 per cent gradually. The network claims to have grown from an average of 295 GRPs channel in FY16 to 546 GRPs in FY 19 (Wk 39) U+R which is a growth of 85 per cent, where the other players have witnessed a stagnation or decrease. Its flagship shows includes Naagini, Kamali, Comedy Khiladigalu, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs (season 14) and its upcoming programs include fiction show launches – Shree Vishnu Dashavatara, Paru, Aatma Bandhana and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Season 15, Drama Juniors Season 3 as the non-fiction shows.

Zee Tamil has seen a 92 per cent growth in 18 months with an average of 542 GRPs at a market share of 20.7 per cent in the year 2018-19. The major reason for Zee Tamil’s growth has been its fiction and is at second position with a 26 per cent genre share.

Agarwal said that in the Tamil market, it rated more than Bigg Boss on its finale. “Bigg Boss was a great success for Vijay TV in season 1 and season 2 was also coming and we were also gearing up and thinking what to do next. So it was obviously no point in bringing big show content at the same time. We had great traction in fiction shows and as a result, planned to extend our 3 fiction shows during the weekend.”


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