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Zee TV to up programming hours, &TV on course to reach break-even

MUMBAI: Faced with a drop in viewership of Zee TV, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) is looking to beef up its flagship Hindi GEC with fresh programming in the fourth quarter of this fiscal.

ZEEL’s Q2 advertising revenue had softened due to slight drop in ratings of its flagship Hindi GEC Zee TV. The company’s ad revenue had grown by 15.7% compared to 34.7% growth in the same quarter of the previous fiscal.

ZEEL had contended that the ad revenue growth is still strong as there was moderation in ad spends, especially from e-commerce segment and slight drop in ratings of flagship GEC in the previous quarter.

The drop in ratings had happened due to selection of a few bad shows, ZEEL MD Punit Goenka told media analysts. He also said that the new team at Zee TV (led by Akash Chawla) is putting together a strong pipeline of shows to get the channel back on track.

“I think regarding what went wrong, it is a question of implementation that went wrong. I mean selection of a few bad shows, which has resulted in the ratings being down. But we will fix it,” Goenka said.

He further added, “We have a new team, a new leader at Zee TV, who has come in about 4-5 months back and he is putting a pipeline together for re-launch in the fourth quarter of this fiscal itself. So, we should start to see some positive movement on that from the fourth quarter itself.”

Zee TV intends to up its programming hours to around 30 a week by the end of this fiscal, up from 25. The programming hours on &TV should increase to 24 a week, up from 21. These are, however, projections based on how the launches go, and these vary from quarter-to-quarter.

Goenka said that the company has certain plans for the current and the coming fiscal on how to achieve break-even on &TV. He exuded confidence about the channel’s performance.

“So if you look at &TV, in fact from Q1 to Q2 itself, we have seen a 12% improvement in the viewership. So, I think we are moving in the right direction. Whether I am happy with the performance, I am never happy with the performance. I am always expecting more to come out of my assets,” he stated.

Goenka added: “So, we have plans in place for the current fiscal and for the coming fiscal as to how we want to achieve that. We had guided that it will take three years for us to reach that kind of break-even point to start with and I think we are within control of that, as of now.”