afaqs!

ZEEL works towards dedicated sports entity

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | February 02, 2010
ZEEL to have a dedicated sports entity; Zee Sports and Ten Sports to be distributed by Taj TV India as a first step

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL), which has Mumbai Football Club, All Sports Magazine, ICL, Zee Sports and Ten Sports, will have a dedicated sports entity. Taj TV India, the wholly owned subsidiary of ZEEL, will be responsible for handling the sports business of the group. As a first step in the direction, Taj TV India will be the new distribution entity for the group's sports channels, Zee Sports and Ten Sports.

& #BANNER1 & #From February 1, Zee Sports and Ten Sports are being distributed by the newly acquired Taj TV India. Zee Turner was handling the two sports channels till now.

There will be no change in the price of the channels and Ten Sports and Zee Sports will continue to be sold at Rs 10.05 and Rs 10.13 respectively. The group, as of now, has no plans of selling these two channels in a bundle.

ZEEL recently acquired an additional 50 per cent stake in its subsidiary, Taj Television (India), which handles the ad sales for Ten Sports India. Taj Television India is now a wholly owned subsidiary of ZEEL. The Zee group also owns a dedicated sports channel, Zee Sports.

Atul Pande, chief executive officer, sports business, Essel Group, says, "We are realigning our sports business and we plan to make it have a separate distribution entity for all the sports businesses of the group. Whenever we launch new sports related entities, including channels, they will all fall under the new Essel sports business."

He adds that as a part of the strategy, the group is looking at realigning the portfolio of content on the two channels, Zee Sports and Ten Sports. He says that the group is also eyeing new sports channels, with each channel dedicated to a single sport rather than all-sports channels.

The vertical will try and ensure that almost all the new launches fall under the 'Ten' umbrella, that is, all the new launches will have 'Ten' as a suffix or prefix in their names.

He further adds that at the moment, Taj TV India will only focus on the distribution of these two channels. However, the new sports channels of the group will also come under the purview of Taj TV India.

Ten Sports and Zee Sports are distributed across 4,000 cities and towns. According to the company, together, Zee Sports and Ten Sports reach out to 8.2 million homes spread across DTH and analogue platforms. Following the change of distribution, it hopes to further increase its viewer base.