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ZEEL plans to revamp Hindi action movie channel Zee Action

MUMBAI: Encouraged by the growth witnessed by smaller movie channels due to cable TV digitisation and expansion of TV viewership measurement to LC1 markets, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) is planning to revamp its action-oriented Hindi movie channel Zee Action.

Ruchir Tiwari“Our three channels Zee Cinema, Zee Classic and &pictures are comfortably settled, so it’s time for Zee Action to get more aggressive. We believe that Zee Action can drive more viewership. It has to evolve and get a big revamp,” ZEEL deputy business head of Hindi movie cluster Ruchir Tiwari said.

ZEEL has a portfolio of seven movie channels including five standard-definition (SD) and two high-definition (HD) channels. The SD channels include Zee Cinema, &pictures, Zee Classic, Zee Action and Zee Premier. It has two HD channels, namely Zee Cinema HD and &pictures HD.

Tiwari said that there is a need to promote Zee Action to raise awareness about the channel: “Right now, it’s more about awareness challenge and we need to shout more about the channel and make people more aware.”

Without elaborating further on the revamp details, Tiwari said that the idea is to lend more visibility to Zee Action.

Zee Action airs Bollywood action movies as well as dubbed South Indian and Hollywood action movies. Dubbed South Indian movies, in particular, have gained a lot of traction among viewers in the Hindi-speaking market (HSM).

Tiwari noted that action as a category has once started gaining traction among viewers post Salman Khan’s hit action film ‘Dabangg’.

Action films were once the dominant narrative in Indian cinema; however, they became fewer in number as other genres like comedy, thriller and romantic films exploded.

“There is humungous potential for action. Therefore, we are getting more aggressive on Zee Action. Cable TV digitisation and the addition of LC1 towns to the TAM universe have made it a more compelling proposition,” Tiwari asserted.

Zee Classic, Zee Action and Zee Premier are meant only for digital platforms. With digitisation of 41 cities in Phases I and II, these channels have got more visibility as distribution proliferated.

Tiwari said that the opportunity for specialised movie channels like Zee Classic and Zee Action will only grow as Phase III and IV areas get digitised.

“Smaller channels have found growth because of digitisation. Some of our channels like Zee Classic and other smaller channels in the category have got more visibility. We see room for growth for smaller channels because of digitisation,” he averred.

The growth of these channels has also come at the cost of bigger channels. “The bigger channels in the category have felt that pinch. However, of late there has been consolidation,” he said.

New channel launches expand the genre

While the launch of new channels has led to fragmentation in the category, it has, at the same time, expanded the genre.

“New launches have contributed to the expansion of the genre. On the whole, the pie has expanded, plus the new channels have also eaten into the share of existing channels,” Tiwari stated.

Tiwari said that the launch of new channels has also meant more choices for viewers as they are offering alternative content to audience. “It is only good that more channels are getting launched because end of the day the consumer is getting more choices,” he noted.

Zee Cinema and &pictures are distinctly positioned, with each catering to viewers with different tastes. Both channels have a distinct movie library, except for TV premieres which are sometimes common for both.

On the movie acquisition front, Tiwari said that the company is in the process of firming up plans for the next year. “In any case, broadcasters had pre-booked a lot of content in 2013 which is good enough for 2014–15,” he pointed out.

The CS 15+ Male forms the core target audience for the Hindi movie genre. Nevertheless, females and kids are also important components.