ZEEL gears up to launch three more regional HD channels

MUMBAI: Media conglomerate ZEEL is gearing up to launch three more high definition (HD) channels in regional space.

The broadcaster will launch Zee Telugu HD and Zee Cinemalu HD on 31 December, a source close to the development told TelevisionPost.com.

It is also planning to launch Zee Kannada HD, which will launch in the end of March 2018.

The source further stated that Zee Telugu HD and Zee Cinema HD will not be a mirror offering of their SD versions. Both the channels will have some original content as the HD channels will have more air time for content due to fewer ads.

The two channels will be offered as a premium offering to customers. Additionally, Zee Telugu and Zee Cinemalu will also launch new shows and other high impact properties at the time of the launch of the HD channels.

In October, the company had launched Zee Tamil HD to take its total HD channel offering to 11.

In May 2017, ZEEL had got the ministry of information and broadcasting’s (MIB) permission to launch Zee Tamil HD, Zee Telugu HD, and Zee Kannada HD.

The broadcaster had got fresh licences for Zee Telugu HD and Zee Kannada HD while ZeeQ licence, which was shut down earlier this year, was renamed Zee Tamil HD.

ZEEL had begun rolling out its regional GEC in 2016 with the launch of Zee Marathi HD, Zee Talkies HD, and Zee Bangla HD. It has also got the licence to launch Zee Bangla Cinema HD.

The broadcaster also has plans to launch Zee Classic HD.

In 2016, Star India and Viacom18 had launched a slew of regional HD channels. Star had launched Star Pravah HD, Star Jalsha HD, Star Jalsha Movies HD, Star Maa HD and Vijay HD while Viacom18 had launched Colors Marathi HD, Colors Bangla HD and Colors Kannada HD.

According to a recent study on HD channels by audience measurement body BARC India, the viewership share of HD channels increased by a whopping 169% during October 2015 to September 2017 even as the number of HD channels increased 41%.

The number of HD channels has increased from 59 in 2015 to 83 in 2017. Of the available 83 HD channels, 50 channels have both SD and HD feed. SD channel count jumped to 517 in 2017 from 445 in 2015.

According to the report ‘The HD Landscape’, the youth in 22-40 year age bracket are among the biggest consumers of HD channels with a 35% share of HD viewership.

In terms of consumer classification, the NCCS A category comprising the top end of the consumers are the largest contributors to HD channel viewership. HD channels and packages are generally targeted at high-end customers.