Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (ZEEL) announced at a press conference the launch of their latest Hindi GEC offering from the ‘&’ bouquet called &TV and positioned it as a contemporary channel for the HSM markets. The official date for the launch of the channel has not been given and will be given on January 24, however it was said it will go on-air in March.
Unveiling the tagline – ‘Jashn Jeena Ka’ the channel also unveiled its line-up of shows which included the flagship property ‘India Poochega – Sabse Shaana Kaun?’ which will be hosted by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. Produced by Siddhartha Basu’s Big Synergy the show format is adapted from a popular Israeli game show ‘Who’s Asking?’ by Armoza which they have acquired the rights for where the common man gets to ask questions which the contestants have to answer.
Speaking about the channel’s launch Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL said, “&TV will offer a more substantial viewing experience to an audience that is always seeking fresh and relevant content. The channel extends our Hindi entertainment portfolio under the ‘&’ bouquet and will add to the consolidation of our leading position in the entertainment industry. We are certain that with the launch of &TV we will capitalize on further such opportunities to build a robust entertainment bouquet and march ahead towards achieving the global ambitions set for the company”. He further added while Zee TV is a traditional channel and will focus on shows which are traditional in nature, this channel will be more contemporary and will feature shows that are a bit edgy and that will not be the right fit for Zee TV.
“The Indian audience is being divided and mindsets are changing. While some have traditional mindsets others with contemporary mindsets who want to experiment with new content which is not currently available on TV. We have looked at this audience when creating the channel. What I believe is because of digitization the fragmentation which is going to take place. So rather than getting fragmented I should lead the fragmentation,” said Goenka.
When questioned regarding the confidence of launching another Hindi GEC channels in the same space and considering that many had failed (which also includes Zee Next that was launched in December 2007 and shut in September 2008) he said, “In my opinion Zee Next did not succeed because it was too early. It came before its time and that is the reason it failed. Now with this channel I feel with digitization market segmentation is going to happen. If look in the current times genre specific channels are starting and are becoming successful so definitely I think this will work”. He further added that the &TV team has given him the confidence that it will succeed.
Rajesh Iyer, Business Head, &TV, “We don’t want to be different for the sake of being different. So what we believe is good content is good business as long as we can put in good content and that is accessible to people and if our distribution plot is strong enough I think so people will start consuming us. As long as we have good content, entertaining content and the right distribution I think we will make it work”. When asked about whether &TV will be in competition with sister channel Zee TV he said it will most definitely be and went on to give the analogy of tennis sisters Serena Williams and Venus Williams in saying that when the time comes they compete with each other and also pair up together in a doubles match to defeat their opponents and that they hope to do the same.
&TV will host shows in the prime time slots, which also include fiction properties such as Begusarai produced by Saregama Productions and for which the channel has roped in film maker Tigmanshu Dhulia to design the first look of the multi-starrer film on TV. Apart from this Razia Sultan, which is to be an untold story of the 13th century, produced by Swastik Productions. Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai! is a sitcom produced by Edit II which the will premiere on the channel. Badii Devrani produced by Shashi Sumeet Productions is another show in its line-up.