Beginning October 1, ZEE-MGM - the erstwhile identity of ZEE's English movie channel - ceased to exist. & #BANNER1 & # Instead, what has been launched by the ZEE Network is ZEE Movie Zone (ZMZ) - a new name replete with a new logo.
The rebranding exercise by ZEE effectively meant that its joint venture with MGM, the Hollywood studio, which is being acquired by a consortium led by Sony Corporation, is over.
For the unititated, Metro Goldwyn Mayer or MGM, the legendary Hollywood studio, which has the James Bond movies among other titles to its credit, is being bought-over for an estimated $5 billion by Sony Corp and a group of investors.
ZEE's joint venture with MGM was in operation for the last four years with most of its content being sourced from the latter.
Hence, it goes without saying that the ripple effect of the Sony deal was bound to show up sooner or later in India.
However, Ajay Trigunayat, business head, ZEE Movie Zone, maintains that the parting of ways has nothing to do with Sony's prized acquisition. "We had a limited library at our disposal on account of our tie-up with MGM," he says. "And, talks to go independent were initiated about a year-and-a-half ago."
The channel, he says, had begun sourcing titles from other studios of late and as per the latest count, merely seven flicks in its 746-strong movie library were from MGM stable. These include five James Bond movies, Oscar-winners - Silence of the Lambs and My Left Foot.
Newly-christened ZEE Movie Zone, in fact, has a festival of Bond flicks this month on Sundays at 8.00 pm, (which is actually a repeat show; the channel had come up with exactly the same line-up of movies a while back) while November will be the time for an Indiana Jones special, followed by the premiere of Laws of Attraction in December and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill 1 and 2 in January. Even Kill Bill was premiered in the same channel a month back.
Forthcoming attractions include Charlize Theron's Monster, Duple, Mr Bones, Scream 1, 2 and 3 as well as its spoof Scary Movie 1 and 2 and Butterfly Effect.
The channel, says Trigunayat, is in talks with foreign production houses for new programming initiatives that have "never been witnessed by Indian audiences before."
"We have a blue-print for a content and acquisition strategy that I cannot disclose. To be successful you need to break the mould and perceptions about the channel will change from 2005."
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