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Zee's connectivity dips, woos consumers to hook-on

14-June-2001
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Zee's connectivity dips, woos consumers to hook-on

As Zee bouquet goes digital and encrypted, it is facing problem in restoring connectivity. High subscription cost of Zee TV, delay in distribution of 'integrated receivers and decoders' and relatively low pull of other Zee channels are the reasons reported.

Zee, however, is fighting hard. Consumer awareness and call-for-action through ads and newspaper inserts, multiple packages for the cable operators and launch of special programming is likely to work for Zee.

Posing as a consumer, when exchange4media contacted Zee Network, we were told that Zee bouquet is available in 'attractive' packages. While Zee TV alone is priced at a steep Rs. 16 per household a month, the entire set of 15 channels is available for Rs. 30. To receive and decode the encrypted signals, as cable operator has to buy IRD box costing Rs. 14,000 a piece. Every channel would require a separate box, therefore, a sizable investment from the operator.

" A family drama that makes you laugh, cry, think...a pradhan mantri who attempts to... Hey! you will never know. Because you are no longer plugged to Zee" reads a newspaper insert, cajoling viewers to "demand what you deserve."

Turing pay was inevitable for Zee. According to exchange4media estimates, Zee can potentially earn over 225 crores from subscription revenues. This estimate assumes a conservative 40% conversion of overall urban connectivity into pay homes.

Among the channels, which have gone pay, the maximum connectivity encashed by any network so far is by ESPN Star Sports network. But even they have not been able to get the cable operators to cough up for more than a million homes so far. Each of their channels costs less than what Zee is charging cable operators per household per month.

Yet, even at the height of World Cup Cricket the ESPN Star Sports network could push up to much less than a million homes’ acceptance by cable operators. Besides, Zee is relevant only in three large regions – North, West and East, whereas ESPN Star Sports has universal appeal across the country. Hence, even a 40% conversion rate by Zee seems like a Herculean task by any standards. This is not to say that they will not reach these homes, it’s just that the cable operators even while distributing to these homes will agree to pay for just a fraction of this connectivity.s

The satellite universe data is as per NRS 2000. Read the details of the estimates by clicking, "Zee TV poised to earn over Rs. 225 crores by turning pay: An exchange4media estimate"

Zee went encrypted and pay on 11th June. The Zee bouquet consists of 15 channels and covers virtually all genres of programming.

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