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20 years of Zee TV in Europe
MUMBAI: After its launch in India in 1992, Zee TV came to the UK three years later in March 1995 to meet the entertainment demands of the South Asian community. Today, 20 years on, it continues to serve the South Asian diaspora with its multi-genre programmes ranging from dramas, history, reality, films, news, cookery, and exclusive local programming for audiences in the UK and Europe.
With more than 730 million viewers in over 170 countries worldwide, Zee TV has created a strong brand and is the largest media franchise serving the South Asian diaspora.
Zee Europe CEO Neeraj Dhingra said, “Zee TV has been a pioneer in bringing great Asian entertainment to the UK and fostering the cultural ties with India. Our objective has been to produce innovative, engaging, and creative programming for our viewers and deliver exceptional value. We are constantly striving to reach wider audiences with a desire to entertain through Indian and local content and build a sense of ownership, pride, and passion among our employees. And this connect with our viewers and employees is what has created a ZEE Family!”
In the last 20 years, Zee TV has done shows like ‘Dance India Dance’ and ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’. It also looked to bring about a social change through shows like ‘Saat Phere’, ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’, and ‘Punar Vivaah’. Through its shows, it has helped create names such as Sanjeev Kapoor, Sonu Nigam, and Shreya Ghoshal.
1995 – Conducted the Supermodel Contest to find a male and female face to represent the Asian youth in the UK
1996 – Filmed and broadcast the UK edition of ‘Antakshari’, a landmark musical game show
1997 – Filmed and broadcast ‘Filmi Baatein’, a popular show hosted by Shekhar Suman in the UK
1998 – Zee TV went live 24 hours a day
1999 – First South Asian channel to launch English subtitling facility in the UK;
Launched Music Asia, the UK’s first 24-hour Asian music channel, later rebranded as Zee Muzic, and now called Zing
2000 – Hosted the international beauty pageant Miss World; became the first Asian channel to host an international event of this magnitude
2001 – Launched Zee Cinema, a 24-hour movie channel
2002 – Launched the UK’s first Punjabi language channel Alpha ETC Punjabi
2003 – Alpha ETC Punjabi became the only regional channel to be able to increase its price in the UK
2004 – Launched Alpha Punjabi in the rest of Europe
2005 – Hosted the 8th Zee Cine Awards in London;
Launched Zee Gujarati in the UK
2006 – Hosted Zee Carnival, a three-day event featuring an array of top Bollywood, and Zee stars;
Became the only Asian television network to provide dual-language subtitling facilities through teletext in English and French across Europe
2007 – Entered the Russian mainstream television industry with the launch of Zee TV Russia, an entertainment and lifestyle channel in the Russian language
2008 – Hosted the Zee Cine Awards twice in a single international location
2009 – Hosted Zee Carnival again by popular demand in London
2010 – Launched Zee Cafe
2011 – Broadcast the ICC World Cup Cricket in Hindi exclusively on Zee Cafe
2012 – Launched ‘Cinematic Cricket’, a special scheduling slot for live and exclusive international cricket series on Zee Cinema
2013 – Launched Lamhe, UK’s first nostalgic Asian entertainment channel;
Launched Cloud 9, UK’s first British–Asian weekday drama series shot in London
2014 – Launched Zee Companion, a unique local and live show
Zee Companion is a live show that aims to act as an interactive portal between viewers, hosts, and experts. The show’s affable hosts act as companions to the viewer and share experiences, discuss issues, and aid them in getting proper guidance and advice from a renowned panel of experts. Guests who have appeared and interacted live with viewers include Jay Sean, Nana Patekar, Paresh Rawal, Shabana Azmi, Tarun Tahiliani, Jimmy Shergill, Sukhwinder Singh, Kabir Bedi, and Nina Manuel.
Business tycoons Hussein Lalani, Shahnaz Husain, Lord GK Noon, and Rami Ranger have interacted with viewers and given expert advice. The show covers a variety of topics in the fields of health, law, finance, wellness, business, education, and entertainment.
The show’s time slot was recently extended from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. The show has also roped in two new hosts providing insights into issues. Episodes of celebrities like Jimmy Shergill and Kumar Sanu received 270 and 228 phone calls respectively.