Things are stirring at Zee Café. The channel’s new Business Head, Neil Chakravarti, has begun an all-new programming push on the channel. In the course, the channel will be introducing a slew of original local English content on the channel. Three shows are in the block already and at least four more will be on-air by mid 2006.
While the local English programmes are the highlight of the new content line-up on the channel, another show that the channel has high expectations from is ‘Friends – Season 10’.
Zee Network’s EVP, Ad Sales, Joy Chakraborty said that not only was the channel in the process of finalising eight associate sponsors, but had already roped in Pepsi and L’Oreal as co-presenting sponsors.
“Friends series have played a crucial role in pushing Zee Café in its genre and the advertisers were very excited about the final series. We have had some great responses for them,” said Chakraborty.
However, ‘Friends’ is just a part in the larger scheme of things. Said Chakravarti, “The channel is doing well and this is a natural progression. The niche urban audience that Zee Café is catering to is interested in this kind of premium content, which is in English language, but still with uniquely Indian ethos.”
The big one from the channel is UTV’s ‘Bombay Talking’, which debuts on November 19, 2005 in the 10.30 pm slot on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. The other two shows in the same veins are ‘After Hrs’, which is a weekly recap of the events in the week. Another such show on-air is ‘Simply Style’, “It’s about what’s in and what’s not,” said Chakravarti, “Not just in clothes, but even in house décor and anything that makes a style statement.”
Replying to what response the show had already seen, Chakravarti said, “The media planning fraternity has loved it and the advertisers are warming up to it too. In all, the initial responses have been encouraging.”
On the larger picture, Katrik Chintamani, EVP, Programming for the Network, explained that these initiatives had helped the Network on the whole. He said, “This would help in Zee Café building the brand further and in all reflects on the Network itself. Changes like these, which would benefit individual channels, will be helpful for Zee Telefilms in the longer run.”
‘Bombay Talking’, too, has L’Oreal as the presenting sponsor and Chakraborty informed that other deals would be finalised in this week.