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ZEEL to draw the curtain on Zindagi, shift content to OZEE from 1 July

MUMBAI: In a surprise move, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has decided to discontinue its premium Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) Zindagi and move the content to its ad-supported video-on-demand (VoD) platform OZEE.

Zindagi will shut down on 30 June and its content will be available on OZEE from 1 July.

ZEEL said that the Zindagi content had more traction on digital than on TV, hence the decision to go fully digital. Zindagi was classified as a niche channel offering the best of international content dubbed in Hindi.

ZEEL owns and operates three Hindi GECs, namely Zee TV, &TV and Zee Anmol. It will also be adding Big Magic from Reliance Broadcast Network after its acquisition receives the necessary approvals.

Incidentally, the broadcaster had re-launched Zindagi in October by peppering it with fresh international and local content. The re-launch happened after the channel dropped Pakistani programming from its content line-up in the wake of the Uri attack, which led to a national outcry against Pakistan. The decision to discontinue Pakistani programming was taken at the top by none other than Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra.

The new shows included a light-hearted Turkish drama entitled ‘Little Lord’, three Indian originals including Sphere Origins’ ‘TV Ke Uss Par’, ‘Khwaabon Ki Zamin Par’ by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares and ‘Agar Tum Saath Ho’ by Gulshan Sachdeva’s Film & Shots.

In fact, ZEEL was so bullish about the channel that it was planning to add English feed in addition to Hindi and launch a high-definition (HD) version to complement its premium positioning.

Zindagi’s differentiation was the Pakistani content that it was airing. It later added Turkish content to the mix. It had built a loyal audience base on the back of Pakistani and Turkish content. Following the removal of Pakistani content, the channel had doubled down on Turkish content in addition to local shows. It also acquired new formats in other languages.

All of Zindagi’s popular content including Turkish show ‘A Love Story’, Ukrainian show ‘Snowdrop’, South Korean show ‘Descendants of the Sun’, Brazilian show ‘Total Dreamer’ besides the original productions of Zindagi will also be available on OZEE.

Zindagi is the second channel from the network to transition to digital. Earlier, ZEEL had shut its edutainment kids channel ZeeQ to focus on digital.

“Zindagi is a thought leader in premium entertainment and the shift to digital is yet another example of innovation from ZEE. Today, content for our audiences is not just on television but also includes gaming, short-form video clips and user generated content, among other forms. There are rapid technological advances that are changing viewing habits, and content for our audiences can no longer be managed by a remote control,” said ZEEL business head premium and FTA GEC channels Aparna Bhosle.

“There is an existing consumer demand for premium world content on the digital platforms and we want to reach out to these viewers. We want to stay connected and be relevant to them by providing them with more personalised and specific experiences as they are a discerning audience that prefers choice and control. Making it available exclusively on OZEE will enable us to deliver more distinctive and quality content to audiences on the move,” she added.