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Zee Studio looks to broaden content slate, target younger viewers
MUMBAI: Zee Studio is broadening its content slate while targeting younger viewers. Dropping the ‘Hollywood on TV’ tag, the channel’s strategy is to show all genres and kinds of movies.
Shaping this strategy is Sharlton Menezes who was promoted in October 2014 to head content and marketing at Zee Studio and Zee Café.
Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, Menezes said that he saw an opportunity for the channel to showcase different kinds of movies. “The idea was to expand our content offering. We saw that channels were featuring action content and not showing other kinds of genres. We decided to air movies in different genres including comedy, romantic comedy, animation, adventure, and action. We came out with a proposition that we will show all types of movies.”
Zee Studio was rebranded to reflect that it showed all kinds of movies. Guided by Argentinean agency Media Luna, the logo, look and feel of the channel was changed.
“A certain amount of fatigue had come on to the channel. Media Luna worked with us on the on-air rebranding. We had worked with them earlier on Zee Cafe. They understand the pulse of the Indian media consumer,” said Menezes.
The whole process took around three months. “We decided on a younger image. Our new ideology is ‘See it all’, which aims to convey the simple thought to viewers that you can see different types of movies, actors, different kinds of content variety. Earlier, we had a line called ‘Hollywood on TV’. But we saw that there was clutter around the use of the word ‘Hollywood’,” explained Menezes.
Zee Studio used to attract an older set of viewers. That seems to have undergone a change. Menezes said that the channel is getting a lot of traction in the 15–24 SEC A, B TG. “Our overall TG is 15–44 SEC A, B. We are now a top three player in the category over the past few weeks (8 metros, C&S SEC A, B 15–44). We have to maintain this performance for the year.”
On the content acquisition front, Zee Studio has got second-run output deals with Disney and Paramount. “Our library strength is now 400 movies. If a first output deal opens up, we will look at it. We will not buy if it is too expensive or if we don’t see any commercial sense in it,” Menezes averred.
Zee Studio based its acquisition strategy on research. “The younger audience might not have seen great movies in the past 10–15 years. Based on that understanding, we selected titles to be showcased in the coming months. A lot of research went into acquiring relevant movies. Getting the right set of viewers is of prime importance now.”
Primetime has been shifted on the channel from 10:30 pm to 9 pm. The two key bands that the channel now focuses on are 9 pm and 1 pm. Menezes plans to introduce some premieres going forward.
“Zee Studio spruced up its movie archive with titles like ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’, ‘Ironman’, ‘GI Joe’, ‘Brave’, ‘Shrek’, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted’, ‘Rise of the Guardians’, etc. ‘The Godfather’ series is in the pipeline,” he explained.
Thematic blocks are just as important. “The most important thing for an English movie channel is to create relevant thematic blocks that fit into the consumer’s mood. We move in a cautious manner in terms of how we programme our movies and we position them at the right time. While there is no fixed number of thematic blocks on the channel, we do at least three a month. For us, slots like ‘Studio Binge’ and ‘Super Studio’ on Sunday at 1 pm and 9 pm respectively, and ‘The One’ airing blockbuster movies targeting primetime slots were the game changers.
“Last November, we had done ‘Call of Duty’, which was about comic-book war heroes. Next month, we will have the property ‘Mayhem’ at 9. We also geared up for post-IPL programming. We see an increase in viewership once matches get over. So we will have the ‘Powerplay’ initiative where movies will air after matches get over.”
A 360-degree campaign is currently underway, as well as a trade campaign. A Transformer figure has been set it up in a mall in Mumbai and in Delhi. FCB Ulka and Pure Media came forward for the campaigns.
“The latest campaign reiterates the fact that Zee Studio is a one-stop solution for a Hollywood movie fanatic looking for quality content. The campaign aims at reaching out to the right influencers and audiences primarily in the key metros of Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. These markets have grown for us with digitisation.
“At the moment, our focus is on maintaining our ranking while the ultimate aim is to be a leader in the industry across India. With this trade campaign, we wish to highlight the stellar performance of Zee Studio in the last eight weeks. The campaign reminds stakeholders of Zee Studio’s consistent leadership in metropolitan India. At the same time, it talks about the channel’s loyal and committed viewership, thus reflecting the success of the philosophy of ‘See it all’.
All the effort is starting to bear fruit. “Before October, we were not in the top four preferred channels. According to TAM, we are now in the top three. Moreover, our qualitative research confirms that we are in the top four channels for viewers in the metros,” said Menezes.