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Is Zee a viable partnership option for CNN?

13-July-2015
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Is Zee a viable partnership option for CNN?

CNN and TV18 have been in the news recently for concluding  their partnership of brand sharing (CNN-IBN) . The ten year agreement will come to an end in 2016. Post the official announcement, there have been talks in the industry about CNN possibly tying up with Zee for a new channel.

There are different options for CNN as of now because nothing has been finalised yet. A source informed us that talks are going on between CNN and Zee. A media report also claimed that CNN team visited the Zee News facility in Noida recently.

Although there is no official announcement from both the sides but still there are speculations around the tie-up.

We asked some of the media experts on their points of view.

Ruby Bana, Chief Strategy Officer at Madison Communications said “It could be win- win for both."

Zee comes with very powerful background in the field of journalism and one of the pioneers of cable television. The channel has everything to offer from GEC to Business News and from DTH to Hindi news, the only genre they have not been into is English News Channel.

When asked if for any reason marketers will shy away from advertising with this split, she replied, “CNN-IBN is very clearly focussed in terms of content and in terms of audience. Hence don't anticipate any serious advertiser on the channel to stay away.”

Sushma Jhaveri, Independent Media Consultant feels nothing is going to change. She said, “Looking at macro aspect nothing is going to change and everything will be settling down in six months. Partnering with Zee will only bring one more English channel on the horizon and TV18 might get another partner.”

She added, “Zee may bring in fresh editorial team and may come up with General English or Business channel. As far as the viewers are concerned, they don’t worry about these tie-ups, they only need good content.”

She said on advertisers, “At best Zee will pitch by saying they have one English channel and as far as CNN is concerned it may impact their revenue a bit. But anyway, IBN 7 and CNBC Awaaz were rated higher than CNN-IBN.”

Opportunity for both, if the partnership materialises

Kunwar Javed Akhtar, Director, Britelite Media said, “CNN tie up with Zee News Network will hopefully give both media houses an opportunity in terms of  reach and market share as well as advertising revenue. Zee News Network  has been into operation since long time and has been lacking English  audience who are serious in nature and are important for any brand requirement.... Zee News Network has required bandwidth in terms of infrastructure as well as resources to take this JV to the next level.  In my reckoning, they will be a force to contend with in the media space.”

Akhtar also highlighted one of the important points of festive season when asked about advertising with the channel. He said, “Of course, this JV is ending in January 2016, and festive season is round the corner, most marketers will tend to change the strategy or rethink their marketing plans."

Chandra P Dobhal, Vice President, Carat Media also feels it’s a good move from Zee. He said, “I see it as a good move as Zee is pioneering in media space from GEC & cinema to news channels. The group is run by media tycoons successfully over a considerable period who understand Indian viewers and their taste. So CNN won’t lose anything but Zee media will definitely be gaining more than now with the new alliance.”

He also said, “Yes, the latest development will have its impact on CNN-IBN featuring in media plans of marketers. As choosing media is mix of decision basis numbers and perceptions as well. At a broader level the situation even now is not in favour of CNN-IBN basis their losing numbers and now this partition is going to work against the channel in specific.”

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