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Zee Cinema to air WWE shows in Hindi from 13 Sep in primetime hours

MUMBAI: Hindi movie channels are becoming the new destinations for sports properties. After Multi Screen Media (MSM) and Star India, ZEEL-owned Ten Sports Network is experimenting by airing its popular property WWE on its Hindi movie channel Zee Cinema.

Come 13 September, Zee Cinema will air ‘WWE Raw Dhamaal’ and ‘WWE Smack Down’ in Hindi everyday from 7 pm onwards.

The move is part of Ten Sports Network’s strategy to broaden the viewership base of the property by airing it on a mass channel.

So why is Ten Sports bringing its tent-pole property to Zee Cinema? Firstly, Hindi movie channels, like sports properties, have a male skew, which is why it helps in expanding reach among the core audience.

Secondly, Hindi movie channels or for that matter any other language movie channel does not have fresh content as they are library led. Therefore, it is easier to experiment on Hindi movie channels since there is no appointment viewing compared to general entertainment channels.

Ten Sports had last year renewed its deal with WWE for five years until 2019. As part of the expanded deal, Ten Sports had revealed plans to air WWE content in multiple Indian languages for the first time.

There are three WWE flagship programmes ‘Raw’, ‘Smack Down’ and ‘NXT’. In addition, Ten Sports had introduced a new one-hour fully customised version of ‘Raw’ tailored specifically for the Indian audience and added ‘WWE Main Event’ to its programming line-up from 1 January.

Airing sports properties on movie channels is an experiment that has been implemented successfully first by MSM—the channel started by airing ICC Cricket World Cup and later the Indian Premier League (IPL) on its Hindi movie channel Sony Max.

Star India has also put this strategy to good use through its properties Pro Kabaddi League, which is aired in Hindi on Star Gold, and Indian Super League (ISL), which was aired on Asianet Movies in Malayalam.