Zee TV’s plan to become fully pay channel has been delayed. The short delay from the plan to go fully encrypted from June 1 to June 10 midnight is due to marketing and technical reasons, said RK Singh, chief executive officer, corporate affairs, Zee Network.
Urdu Television Network (UTN) will migrate from PAS-4 to AsiaSat-3 by the month-end to take the spot vacated by Zee TV. This will give UTN a strategic advantage to be promoted as a free-to-air channel in the analogue mode. The logistics is currently being worked out.
Nickleodeon, the children’s channel from the Viacom stable, which also operates MTV, will be given a push as it is being distributed as a package in the Zee bouquet. It has also shifted from Pas-4 to AsiaSat-3. While the encrypted channels were on one satellite, it wouldn’t have made sense to have Nickelodeon on a different platform. Zee has already seeded the market with 900 boxes for Nickleodeon.
While trying hard to sell the package at a monthly fee of Rs 30 per subscriber to cable operators in urban areas, Zee has taken a soft stance on paid connectivity. The strategy is to get the penetration initially. Later, Zee may ask for increased connectivity while settling on the same price for some time.
The rural package is less attractive than Star TV. Zee is asking for a minimum of 500 points at a monthly price of Rs 22 per subscriber. Star TV is asking for a minimum connectivity declaration of 200 subscribers at Rs 30 per customer.
Zee Network has seeded the market with more than 4,000 boxes for its flagship channel, Zee TV. Zee hopes to supply the market with 6,000 boxes by June 20. This will help it achieving a reach of 14-15 million homes.
Zee claims to have supplied 4,700 decoder boxes for Zee Cinema and 3,000 for Zee News.