Living Foodz, the first of the four channels to be launched under the Living Entertainment brand of the Essel Group was flagged off yesterday. The other three i.e. Living Rootz, Living Travel and Living Homez are expected to launched soon after. Since this also marks the entry of the Living brand into the country they will be spending approximately Rs.50 crore as a launch budget which would include marketing.
Speaking on the new venture, Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEEL & Essel Group said that the company (Living Entertainment) will bring in revenue of Rs.30 crore in the next 6-8 months from India and will bring in roughly about Rs.80 crore in revenue from the international markets. “It will cross Rs. 100-120 crore revenue in the next 12 months. I would think that this business would be Rs.1,000 crore plus in next 4-5 years annually,” said Chandra. The channel is expected to be profitable in a year.
He further spoke about creating these four channels under the Living brand as not India-centric but global-centric and to become the first Asian network to enter the cognitive entertainment or factual entertainment genre. In this space there are only a few companies in the world which would include Discovery, National Geography Channel, History and Script Network in the US. “The lifestyle and cognitive reality TV viewership is about 12-13% of the total television being consumed. Naturally entertainment takes more, movies are secondary, etc. The living and lifestyle and factual entertainment is only 12-13% viewership, whereas revenue wise it crosses about 18-20%. If the total television industry is about Rs.10 lakh crore then the programming of this has a market of Rs.1-1.5 lakh crore. This is the industry size and could be more. My colleagues will argue and say it is Rs.1.75 lakh crore but I am being conservative in saying it is Rs.1-1.5 lakh crore industry which is growing faster than the general entertainment and other areas,” he said.
The idea for the inception of these channels he said stemmed out from the question that in order to become a global network, ‘what can we do in the different territories which they are best at doing’? It was then they decided to use the 5,000 year old teachings of the Indian civilisation on how to live a healthy and happy life through Zee Living a lifestyle and health entertainment channel in America said Chandra.
“Even the history of the world the way we are consuming today at least on television is still what we see on Discovery, NGC and History. And I am not saying that they are doing anything wrong in any way. But they have their point of view, lens and have information which comes to them from various sources. They are not trying to purposely do something wrong but it is a western perspective to the history of mankind and that is what we can see on television. So we felt that it was important that we launch a product called Living Rootz which will also have another perspective other than the western perspective. Because there are historians everywhere and research involvement work everywhere,” Chandra said. He further said they had tested the content on international markets for this content and received positive reactions.
When asked when the other channels will be launched Chandra said, “They will be getting launched one after the other. There are no fixed dates yet. But the second one is Zee Living which is coming to India soon because it is an existing channel and has almost has 2,000 hours of original programming. The concept is all from India but the production has been with western sensibilities.”
With regards to the channel Zee Living in the US taking 5 years to turn profitable he said, “America was a very difficult market. I have no hesitation to say that there are people who call it father of the market economy, but it is the most closed economy I have ever seen. It was very hard to get distribution in the market. We had struggled in this market and out of 110 million homes, we have still only reached 30 million homes in that market.”