&Privé HD ties up with BBC Studios for short film initiative

MUMBAI: ZEEL’s premium English movie channel &Privé HD has teamed up with BBC Studios for the initiative Privé Unscripted. The initiative will feature real-life stories that have been instrumental in shaping the modern world as we know today.

The non-feature film property is designed for the non-conformist, who dares to see beyond the dramatised versions and delve into the raw and the real. Bringing content from ZEEL’s association with BBC Studios, Privé Unscripted will première on 21st January at 11 pm.

After a few weeks, the initiative will air on Sundays at 8 pm. The scheduling decision has been taken keeping in mind viewers tune in habits and patterns. The strategy starts with the weeknights and then moving to a weekend primetime slot.

The broadcaster sees a lot of potential in building the weekend primetime slot. For the record, ZEEL’s English GEC Zee Cafe already airs content from BBC Studios.

The aim behind the initiative is to give viewers a deeper understanding of stories involving famous personalities like disgraced Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in ‘Weinstein: The Inside Story’. Then there is ‘Targeting Bin Laden’ (Featuring Barack Obama), ‘Meet the Trumps: From Immigrant to President’, ‘Inside Obama’s White House’ and ‘David Beckham – Into the Unknown’.

ZEEL chief marketing officer (CMO) Prathyusha Agarwal said that findings showed that biopics are hugely popular across categories whether it is Bollywood or Hollywood. “We are looking to push the envelope further. It is not just a dramatised version of events. We are looking at the raw and unscripted in all its glory. Today authenticity is a big thing whether it is product choices that you make or brands that you love and relate to. Our aim is to bring in the other side look of biographies. The non-conformist audience wants an unscripted version of reality.

She added that the aim is to look at what is capturing the mood of the nation which is why personalities like Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump are being featured. “It is about stories that people want to understand more of but on which they have an opinion on. The key for us will be to find the right biographies. Storytelling is also important. It is not just a put together collection.”

Content curation, she said, helps bring in the viewer who does not want to spend time on searching for shows. The viewer can just tune in and get great content. “One should not underestimate effortless entertainment. A consumer who otherwise slogs does not want to slog to find out where the destination for great entertainment is. Content discovery happens when the platform is great. OTT, on the other hand, tends to be a lot about people seeking out a particular kind of content. This is a seek mode,” she stated.

She sees an opportunity for the channel in the new distribution regime where there will be high involvement at the consumers’ end where he/she will choose channels to keep. Channels that are clear on what they offer and stay true to their brand promise will succeed as consumers will continue to subscribe to them. A consumer pull is important as that ensures that they come back again and again to the channel.

ZEEL head premium channels Shaurya Mehta said, “It is a proud moment for &PrivéHD to be a part of a ground-breaking event in television history by launching Privé Unscripted. It is our constant endeavour to provide an experience of nuanced cinema to our loyal audiences. BBC is a very renowned and respected name in the field of creating content. We have had a rich relationship with them, since the successful launch of the BBC First block on Zee Café. With Privé Unscripted we extend that relationship and harness the power of this exceptionally thought-provoking quality content. We are sure that the audience will embrace this new format of content.”

He noted that over a dozen titles have been acquired but more titles are being looked at. The channel’s audience he noted is largely evolved and so the titles should showcase topics that have created a lot of conversation. “There can be multiple opinions and debates. The idea is to showcase content that will engage the viewer from that facet as well.”

He added that the decision to put the initiative on this channel and not on the mass movie channel &flix is based on what the storytelling is and also the fact that the focus is on true events.

BBC Studio senior VP, GM South and South East Asia Myleeta Aga said, “We’ve had a great experience working with the team at Zee. Our association with BBC First resonated with Indian audiences so well and was a huge success. We believe that quality storytelling whether drama or unscripted will always connect with audiences; immerse and entertain them. We hope to receive a great response from the viewers for our documentaries on &PrivéHD.”

She noted that if one looks at the mature TV markets like the UK, US, Germany one sees a lot of unscripted primetime on Sunday nights. “As television audiences get savvier and have availability of content not on TV they will want to see more different kinds of stories. So as much as biopics and films are doing really well it indicates to us that the audience here is ready. It is ready to hear more about the real stories and it follows global programming trends as well.”

She said that unscripted no longer means a documentary. The stories are told in a dramatic and an entertaining way. She said that consumers experiment a lot outside TV. So when they return to TV they expect variety to be offered.

As marketing push, there will be Privé Soirée initiative which an event on-ground for Weinstein: The Inside Story. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with reputed speakers from the entertainment industry such as Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, and Bollywood actors, Swara Bhaskar and Dia Mirza.

Privé Soirée is an on-ground IP of the channel, under which it screens one critically-acclaimed film for the general audience, followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion delving into the other side of the cinema. Renowned filmmakers from Bollywood, delve deeper into that film and discuss the nuances.

The films that have been screened under this property include names like ‘Call Me By Your Name’, ‘Ms. Sloane’ and ‘7 Days in Entebbe’. The channel has hosted directors and producers like Atul Kasbekar, Hansal Mehta, Ram Madhvani, Nandita Das, Onir and Tanuja Chandra.

Since its launch, &Privé HD has curated 350 movies with 52 premieres including titles like ‘Moonlight’, ‘Lion’ and ‘The Post’. &PrivéHD is part of the Zee Prime Pack HD that includes &PrivéHD alongside four other premium HD channels of the Zee network for Rs 35 per month.

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