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Zee not to team with broadcasters for channel fees

20-March-2001
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Zee not to team with broadcasters for channel fees

Zee right now isn't planning to join with other broadcasters such as Star TV and Sony to pressure local cable operators to pay more for programming. Domestic cable operators typically do not report all the subscribers they serve, and many also do not pay for all the signals they receive, leading to a loss of revenue for the broadcasters.

Additionally, since Zee's programmes have fallen in popularity the past year, it commands less per group of channels than rival Star TV.

Zee expects to improve that once its key general entertainment Zee TV becomes a pay-channel. And ultimately Zee plans derive a majority of its revenue from pay-TV, rather than from advertising as now. Yet analysts say Zee would have better success at getting cable operators to pay more if it joined forces with other broadcasters like Star TV and Sony Entertainment Television.

Zee, however, is banking on improving its content to win back viewers and raise its pricing power with cable operators. Zee was exploring partnerships with production houses to improve its content.

Zee was conducting due diligence to pick up a 26 per cent stake in Buffalo Networks, the company that owns the Website tehelka.com.

Zee has over the past four months also picked up stakes ranging from 20 to 26 per cent in four production houses -- Pratham Entertainment, Trai Cinema, Karma Network and Pakhi Entertainment.

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