Zee Network's newest addition to the Hindi general entertainment space, &TV, is set to hit the small screen today. The channel is the first GEC from Zee's sub-brand '&', after the launch of &pictures in August 2013.
&TV is the sixth Hindi GEC from Zee Entertainment Enterprises after Zee TV, Zee Anmol, Zee Smile, 9X, and Zindagi. The channel is entering the highly competitive and crowded space, which already comprises 16 Hindi GECs. The other Hindi GECs from other networks include Star Plus, Star Utsav, Life Ok, Sony Entertainment Television, Sab TV, Sony Pal, Epic Channel, Colors, Rishtey, Big Magic and Sahara One.
It is pertinent to note here that Zee Anmol, Zee Smile, 9X, Star Utsav and Rishtey are free-to-air channels, and run repeats of their sister channel/s.
ZEEL is leaving no stone unturned to promote the launch of this channel. &TV is being promoted across television genres within the Zee network and others too. Music and youth entertainment channels are also being used to announce the launch. Here, the channel is being promoted at the end of the show promos of the channel.
The focus is on the content of the shows and it is only towards the end that the voice over says, 'Watch this show on the new Hindi Entertainment channel &TV'. Hence, instead of getting channel partners, ZEEL has roped in partners for its different shows.
On social media, &TV has created a page on Facebook which already has got over 80,300 likes. The channel has been updating the page frequently promoting the shows and the characters. The shows of &TV are also being promoted on sister channels like &Pictures (160,277 Facebook likes) and Zee TV (4,138,302 Facebook likes). The shows are being extensively promoted on out-of-home mediums across Hindi speaking markets.
&TV, as on February 28, has around 7000 followers on Twitter.
On the day of the launch, leading publications mainly in English and Hindi are slated to carry ads promoting the channel and its shows. The channel has also planned side captures on websites.
The content of the channel, according to the company, will be contemporary and contextual, depicting the progressiveness of the viewer.
The 8.30 PM slot will be occupied by 'Gangaa', an inspiring story of a child widow who is characterised with an indomitable spirit and will to survive.
'Begusarai', scheduled for 10 PM, is set in the hinterlands of Bihar. Prosperous in its own right, living within the boundaries of age-old traditions, this almost-forgotten township of today's India, has a powerful story to tell about the Thakurs, outlaws of the land. The show will be followed by a light-hearted entertainment show, 'Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai'.
On the weekends, the channel will air non-fiction properties, 'Killer Karaoke' and 'Tujhse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi'.
When Zee Entertainment Enterprises launched its Bengali movie channel in 2012, it had got Hindustan Unilever as a channel partner. Zee Bangla Cinema, for a month, aired ads only of brands from the FMCG giant. Zee Anmol and &pictures had also got channel partners, while Zindagi had a mix of channel and show partners.
For &TV, the network is working on a different ad sales strategy. There are presenting, 'powered by' and associate sponsors for different shows, instead of for the channel .&TV is refraining from selling individual ad slots in the initial few weeks as all the ad inventories are being occupied by the sponsors.
The associate sponsors of a show will occupy around 30-40 per cent of the ad inventory, as the rest will be occupied by the title sponsors.
&TV has roped in Rin as the presenting sponsor for its flagship property, 'India Poochega- Sabse Shaana Kaun', and Pan Vilas and DHFL have come on board as the 'powered by' sponsors.
For 'Raziya Sultan', the channel has got Venus as the presenting sponsor and Clean and Dry as the 'powered by' sponsor. 'Begusarai', meanwhile, will be presented by Pan Bahar and powered by Quickheal and Ghadi detergent. Vicco will be presenting 'Gangaa' which will be powered by Libero and Ghadi.
Along with content and marketing, distribution also plays a very critical role in the performance and success of a channel.
&TV seems to have it all in place. While the test signals are on, the channel will be available on DEN Networks, Siti Cable, Hathway, Incable and DTH platforms including Tata Sky, Videocon d2h and Dish TV.
"GEC is a very competitive genre and there is always a scope if you can differentiate yourself from the rest of the channels. Even if you are not differentiating, then having big ticket properties will help attract more viewers. They will sample the channel at least and will stay if they like it."
Navin Khemka, managing partner, head of North and East, Maxus India, comments, "This is yet another high decibel launch by Zee Network in the already-cluttered Hindi GEC space. Stakes and investments are high and it is critical for a new channel to get threshold numbers to ensure advertisers sample and eventually patronise. It has the right launch buzz and a promising programming line-up."
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