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Zindagi completes one year, plans original content

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s (ZEEL) premium Hindi general entertainment channel Zindagi is completing one year of run on 23 June.

ZEEL’s aim with its third Hindi GEC was to create a new category within the genre, targeting the ‘progressive mind-sets’. The channel was launched across India and not just in the Hindi-speaking markets.

The channel had many firsts to its credit, including syndicated content from Pakistan and finite shows. However, the channel witnessed a subdued start on the ratings chart.

Though it had shows like ‘Aunn Zara’, ‘Badalte Rishtey’, ‘Dhoop Chhaon’, ‘Humsafar’, ‘Kash Main Teri Beti Na Hoti’, ‘Kitni Girhain Baaki Hain’ and ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’, the channel could not manage to make a stronghold in the Hindi GEC hierarchy.

However, Madison Media COO Karthik Lakshminarayan considered Zindagi a good channel for the metros. “The channel ought to be compared to the English niche genre. It has a loyal audience base, which is clearly different from the rest of the GECs, so it can be worth the premium for select advertisers.”

Original production

Over the last 12 months, the channel has launched/aired two telefilms and 54 shows in the form of drama, telenovela, anthology series, daily soap, cooking and beauty content.

At launch, Goenka had stressed that while the channel would start its journey with mostly syndicated Pakistani content, it would also get into production immediately, both in India and in Pakistan.

Now, one year after the launch, the channel is set to introduce its first original production in the form of a non-fiction show, ‘Shukriya’.

To be hosted by actor Gunjan Utreja, the show will give viewers a chance to thank their loved ones.

The story so far

Zindagi’s launch was supported by a big-bang marketing push, spanning across print, electronic and digital media with a marketing budget of Rs 80–100 crore.

ZEEL had handpicked content from Pakistan from acclaimed writers, which it claimed embraced universal emotions. It had also taken concepts and ideas from markets like Egypt, Turkey and Latin America.

The programming on the channel is different from the existing Hindi GECs. Zindagi so far has had only finite fiction content.

Stressing the need for a channel like Zindagi, Goenka had explained that the aim was to chase a viewer of a different mind-set with distinct identity and flavour.

“Currently, the Zee TV viewer is of a mind-set that we define as ‘traditionalists’. Having a band for such stories would be like mixing Chinese cuisine with Indian. Here we are trying to bring alive a new category that is as of now non-existent in the Indian TV space. Hence, it required full-fledged efforts,” he had said.

Recently, the channel introduced an afternoon band called ‘Fursat Ke Pal’ with three new shows between 1 and 2.30 pm.

ZEEL’s Hindi GEC play

Zindagi was the third Hindi GEC from the ZEEL stable after its flagship product Zee TV and free-to-air (FTA) offering Zee Anmol.

ZEEL discontinued its Punjabi channel ETC Punjabi and launched Zindagi using the same licence. Later in March this year, ZEEL launched its fourth Hindi GEC &TV, under the ‘&’ umbrella.

On the ratings chart, Zee TV is at No. 3, below Star Plus and Colors, while &TV is at No. 7 among the pay channels. Zindagi stands at No. 9.

Meanwhile, among the FTA channels, Zee Anmol is No. 1 (as per first set of individual data released by BARC India), ahead of Viacom18’s Rishtey and Star Utsav.