"I watch Netflix and Amazon Prime but can't find their masala Bollywood library": ZEEL's Prathyusha Agarwal

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing
Published : August 24, 2018 05:20 AM
The CMO of ZEEL along with Ruchir Tiwari, business head, Zee Hindi movie cluster, speak about the launch of new Hindi movie channel - Zee Bollywood.

In the ad market for the Hindi movie genre, pegged anywhere between Rs 2500-3000 crore, Zee Entertainment Enterprises is launching a new channel - Zee Bollywood - which will be replacing Zee Classic from August 31.

ZEEL leads the viewership share in the Hindi movies cluster with 35.8 per cent, followed by Sony Max with 28.4 per cent, the Star Hindi movie cluster with 24 per cent and UTV's movies cluster with 11.8 per cent.

While the network is already promoting the launch of its new channel through TVCs conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, it will also be doing outdoor ads in more than 10 cities along with digital, print and radio campaigns as well. The tagline of the channel is '101 per cent Shuddh Bollywood'.

Ruchir Tiwari, business head, Zee Hindi movie cluster, speaks to afaqs! and outlines how Zee Classic already has a presence with a 6 per cent share in the Hindi movie genre. We asked him why the brand decided to shut the channel and replace it, he responds, "Zee Classic isn't shut. What happened was the ministry permission for a new channel is a very slow process. We got this demand for Bollywood from consumers. There is this huge universe, from 45-50 per cent, who says that Bollywood movies are now being featured less on TV and they want more. 'Where have they gone? We miss them. Why are they not on Sunday and why at 11 am?' Those are the larger markets we wish to appeal to. So, because getting permission is not an easy task, we had to use Zee Classic's license to launch Zee Bollywood."

Ruchir Tiwari Ruchir Tiwari

Tiwari tells afaqs! that the fans of classic movies like 'Padosan' and 'Ram Aur Shyam', which would often appear on Zee Classic, can still find those movies on Zee Anmol, Zee Cinema HD and even ZEE5. But with that as well, all is not lost for Zee Classic fans. "We are going to apply for Zee Classic's licence very soon. It will be a revamped/ refreshed offering which will make it premium and niche. It won't be ad-supported. It will also have an on-demand version and talks are on with DTH operators; you will hear about Zee Classic very soon from us", he adds.

Viewers can watch movies all day under time bands that speak the Bollywood lingo such as - Mere Sat-Sun Aayenge (Sat and Sun 9pm), Subhah Ho Gayi Mamu (Mon-Fri 10:30am), Dopehar Ka Tadka (Mon- Fri 2pm), Chalti Hai Kya 9 se 12 (Mon-Fri 9pm), Raat Baaki (Mon-Fri 12am) and Maa Kasam Sunday Hai (Sun 10:30am, 2pm, 5pm).

Zee Bollywood has curated a roster of 600 Bollywood movies which has a mix of romance, drama, comedy, action and much more. Under romance, the channel would air movies like 'Chennai Express' and 'Jab We Met'. Under the comedy banner movies like 'Phir Hera Pheri', 'Housefull' and 'Welcome' would be featured. Under action, the channel would show 'Josh', 'Agneepath' and 'Gadar' while drama would include 'Lagaan', 'Judaai' and 'Raja Hindustani'.

While the Zee Bollywood library does include movies like 'Lagaan', which aired last week on Zee Cinema, we asked Tiwari how different the content would be. He replies, "Today, the top three channels have programming close to 50-60 per cent on a weekly basis of South Indian dubbed movies because there is a large viewership and there are some markets in the category, like the West, which sees strong demand for those films. A bit of central India and the North, prefer Bollywood films. So, what is happening is that you will see 'Lagaan' showcased less frequently there, but it might play on a Sunday afternoon because there is no room. But Zee Bollywood has a sharper offering. Onwards, there will be an overlap and some movies you would find here and there. But what will happen is that when the audience chooses a destination, like-minded people will come to Zee Bollywood and automatically, the library will settle there."

The target audience for the channel is 25+, Male and Female, SEC A, B and C.

Prathyusha Agarwal Prathyusha Agarwal

While Amazon Prime Video and Netflix have been acquiring new Bollywood movies to premiere on their platforms, Prathyusha Agarwal, chief marketing officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, doesn't see them as competition for Zee Bollywood. "I watch Netflix and Amazon Prime, but I can't find the masala Bollywood library. Nothing beats the kind of 3,500 plus library of movies that we have. What they are doing is aggressively buying new content. But the question is - will you get the whole experience of Bollywood? There is always a need for what we call 'seeking entertainment' and 'effortless entertainment' and the days have moved to the latter," says Agarwal.

When discussing why there is no need for dubbed South Indian movies on Zee Bollywood, Agarwal adds, "If you think that from a consumer's perspective, a viewer needs a masala pump and he wants to see that larger than life action and if that exists in a Bollywood Hindi film and nobody is giving that, then obviously a viewer he/she would watch a dubbed version which is actually why we are coming up with this channel saying that there is a masala Bollywood film that exists and it is larger than life, has drama and has 'panga'."

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