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Zee’s content syndication arm enters South America

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) is busy shopping its fiction shows around the numerous outlets of the world. After forging its presence in over 60 countries and dubbing content in more than 20 languages, the company’s content syndication arm Zee Bollyworld has entered South America.

Within two years of its launch, Zee Bollyworld has achieved this breakthrough by syndicating the scripts and storylines of some of its fiction shows to enable South American broadcasters to create their own tele-novellas.

With Indian content steadily increasing in demand globally, South America was an untapped market for Bollyworld. With presence in six continents now, the trading and syndication arm is looking to deepen its foothold further in the Latin American continent and the Scandinavian region in Europe.

Sunita Uchil, Global Head Syndication, ZEELZEEL global head syndication Sunita Uchil tells TelevisionPost.com, “We have recently achieved a breakthrough in the South American market with our story lines which will soon be adapted into television series. We will look to expand our presence there in the future too. While APAC, the Middle East and the sub-Saharan region in Africa are big markets for us, we aim to expand our presence further in these regions as well as Europe.”

The brand is not only looking to expand in terms of physical presence, but through content too. Uchil mentions that talks are on with some international broadcasters and the channel might sign co-production deals with them.

“Co-production ideas and productions based on global backdrop is the next step. Also one piece of content that needs more resonance is documentaries. We have a huge scope to improvise on that front. We do not have much documentary content in our stable, but we might get into producing that too,” she adds.

While documentaries and reality formats have less resonance in international markets, Uchil states that fiction shows have a huge demand in almost all the markets they are present internationally. In fact, audiences and broadcasters even identify the faces of the stars and are fans of various soaps.

One of the soaps that saw a huge surge in demand internationally was ‘Pavitra Rishta’ and in recent times, the demand is for soaps like ‘Qubool Hai’ and ‘Jamai Raja’. Interestingly, there is also a huge demand for costume dramas like ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, ‘Jodha Akbar’ and ‘Razia Sultan’ in pockets where there is large Indian population. Historical shows are popular with Indians abroad as these reflect the rich cultural history of India, states Uchil.

z“Feature films from India have already made their mark in International markets. It is very popular and people around the globe recognise them. TV dramas are now gaining traction and the appeal is worldwide. We can see this trend growing across all markets. Our costume dramas especially draw great attention from International channels,” she elaborates.

Besides fiction, some popular kids’ shows that have been syndicated from ZeeQ are ‘Brain Café’, ‘Teenovations’ and ‘Art Room’.

Lately, Bollyworld syndicated the dance reality show ‘Dance India Dance’ to the Thailand broadcaster JKN Global Media Ltd, to create a localised Thai version of the show.

Though fiction shows have been much in demand globally, Indian reality formats are yet to break through in the global markets. “Indian Reality formats have not been able to make their way into global markets, mainly due to availability of similar formats from others. For example, ‘Saregamapa’ is one of the oldest talent shows, but by the time we got down to syndicating our IP rights, there were already similar formats widely known and available like ‘American Idol’ and various versions of that,” explains Uchil.

The trading and syndication arm also boasts over 1,500 movies in its syndication library. Uchil states that there are usually two types of movie deals—those based on the number of airings and those for a particular period.

Some recently syndicated movie titles include ‘Happy New Year’, ‘Haider’, ‘Tamanchey’, ‘Total Siyappa’, ‘Main Tera Hero’ and ‘Manjunath’.