Prajjal Saha

Zoom strengthens weekend programming

The channel hopes to increase sampling among viewers by beefing up its weekend programming

Zoom, the TV channel from the Times Group, is making every move to build up a strong weekend programming line-up. Two of its popular daily shows, 'Popkorn' and 'Page 3' have now been extended to the weekend slot.

Explaining the reason behind this strategic move, Shailesh Kapoor, consumer marketing head of Zoom, says, “The chances for sampling a new channel is much more during weekends than weekdays. So, if a new channel like Zoom strengthens its programming during weekends, it will be helpful in building a loyal set of viewers.”

“In addition, there is a certain segment of viewers, who do not get the chance to catch up with these shows on weekdays. By extending these popular shows to weekends, we will be catering to such loyalists,” he explains.

Kapoor adds, “This is why our best shows have been slotted for the weekends.” He refers to popular shows such as 'The Manish Malhotra Show', 'Just Pooja' and 'Kosmiic Chat' to illustrate his point.

Kapoor is also of the opinion that as general entertainment channels usually do not have a strong line-up during weekends, it's easier for a niche channel such as Zoom to invite new sets of viewers on such days.

'Weekend Popkorn' – which is scheduled for Saturdays at 8 pm, with a repeat telecast on Sundays – aims at bringing the best gossip, stories, interviews and reports from the world of television and films for the week.

Each episode of 'Weekend Popkorn' will be hosted by a new celebrity anchor. In fact, to add glamour to the show, the channel has lined up a host of popular television actors. The celebrity hosts include Aamana Shariff (Kashish of Kahin To Hoga on STAR Plus), Mona Singh (Jassi of Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin on Sony) and Sangeeta Ghosh (Pammi of Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand on STAR Plus).

The other show 'Weekend Page 3', which is a compilation of week's parties, events and exhibition, has now been extended to Saturdays at 7.30 pm. This show will be alternatively hosted by Gauhar Khan and Neha Sareen.

Apart from strengthening its programming line-up, the channel is also betting on viewer interaction, which has already been a proven success formula for many channels. Zoom has introduced an auction of celebrity costumes on 'Weekend Page 3'. In the forthcoming episode, Preity Zinta's dress from the movie 'Koi Mil Gaya' will be auctioned.

Kapoor says, “This apart, to further strengthen our programming, we plan to launch two new shows every quarter.”

For Zoom, it would have been ideal if it could broadcast mega event properties of the Times Group such as the Filmfare Awards and Femina Miss India contests. The truth is, the channel can't since the Times Group is engaged in a multi-year agreement with Sony Entertainment for the broadcast of these events.

Meanwhile, Zoom has initiated several activities to create properties around these events. The channel, for instance, had launched Miss 8888 around the contestants of Femina Miss India, where viewers could vote for their favourite candidate through the Indiatimes SMS service 8888. The contest was aired a week before the telecast of the final event.

While sharing the marketing plans of Zoom, Kapoor mentions that apart from the extensive use of its print publications, the channel is also looking forward to on-ground events for promotions. He cites the example of how a college event was conceptualised around its weekly show, 'Har Dil Jo Love Karega', or organising interactive sessions of Zoom's anchors at Plant M outlets in several cities. © 2005 agencyfaqs!

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