One thing that has never failed to amaze media analysts about ZEE TV is the channel's penchant for change. & #BANNER1 & # The channel has attempted at least two major makeovers in the last few years including the hasty and unsuccessful bid to the top in 2001, followed by a more revolutionary approach in 2002 when the weekend movie was shifted to weekdays (Thursday Premiere) and the conventional Monday-Thursday programming timeline made way for a Sunday-Wednesday format.
2003 was primarily spent in consolidating Sundays, which was billed as the ZEE day, and 2004, interestingly, has been deemed as makeover time again with the channel involved in a sustained campaign to get eyeballs beginning with the bigger n' better ZEE Cine Awards earlier this year, followed by the talent hunt India's Best - Cinestars Ki Khoj and the very recent switch back to the Monday-Thursday programming timeline coupled with the Sunday blockbuster.
In between, the channel has also overhauled its afternoon time band branding it as ZEE Woman.
Now, if the assumption is that the makeover is over at ZEE, the truth is far from it. According to sources in the know, the channel is looking to beef up the late evening prime time band, which currently has two slots vacant - 10.30 pm and 11.00 pm.
Abhijit Saxena, business head, ZEE TV, says that new shows are in the offing and would be launched at the appropriate time.
However, the process of new launches in the late evening band has been set in motion with the channel winding up thriller Tamanna House (telecast at 10.00 pm) to make way for reality show Bollywood Dreams - an offshoot of talent hunt India's Best - on September 27 at 10.00 pm.
Kittie Party (telecast at 10.30 pm) has also bid adieu and according to informed sources, the channel is looking to shift Aroona Irani's Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan (telecast at 9.30 pm) to the 10.30 pm slot, while the 9.30 pm slot will be occupied by a new show, Kareena Kareena, which is slated to be launched on October 11.
Revolving around a girl of the same name, Kareena Kareena has been conceived to take on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin on rival Sony Entertainment Television, which is telecast at the same time.
Tum Bin, on the other hand, has evolved from being more of a love story to a supernatural drama, and the rationale behind shifting slots could be that the show is more suitable for late evening viewership, point out analysts.
The 11.00 pm slot has gone without a show since the first week of July, when late-night drama Lipstick bowed out. Beginning as a new-age soap two years ago replete with radical themes targeted at a niche audience, Lipstick soon went mainstream revolving around two women - Suniti Verma and the vampish Sheetal Singhania.
According to analysts, extending prime time is critical for ZEE to stem competition on one hand and migrate viewers who come in to watch popular shows such as Astitva (telecast at 9.00 pm) and Tum Bin on the other.
The channel has adopted the strategy of aggressively promoting its fare during prime time shows and it is not uncommon for viewers to find pop-ups during Astitva, Tum Bin or Piya Ka Ghar (telecast at 8.30 pm) announcing new programming initiatives or urging the audience to hang in there and watch the next programme.
Saxena of ZEE TV says that the channel is working out an individual programme push for each of its properties to ensure stickiness and top-of-mind recall.
Apart from multi-media campaigns, the channel is looking at on-ground initiatives as well to build connect
"For the ZEE Woman afternoon band for instance," he says, "We tied up with the BEST bus service in Mumbai to kick off a ladies special that would pick up woman commuters from different parts of the city."
More such initiatives are in the pipeline, all aimed at achieving a single-point agenda -
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