Zee TV has had an eventful year in 2009, having beaten Star Plus and Colors on occasions, and being seen as the only player that didn’t indulge in exorbitant investments in any of its disciplines. For Nitin Vaidya, COO, ZEEL, Zee TV was the No. 1 profitable channel in 2009. The channel plans to focus further on creating new slots, tightening story lines and becoming the No. 1 channel overall in 2010.
Agenda 2010: Scheduling, Finite Story lines & New Slots
Along with providing compelling content, Zee plans to focus on scheduling as well in the year ahead. Vaidya said, “Zee tapped into the 7.30 pm slot with ‘Sindoor’ and ‘Choti Bahu’ as it has always believed in this slot’s potential.” He noted that though this adds slot’s popularity went down in the HSMs, in regional markets, 7.30 pm remained a strong time band. “So, the 7.30 pm primetime slot is a gift from Zee that nobody believed in initially,” he said, adding that the regional channels’ experience proved otherwise.
However, despite the various measures taken by the channel, Zee TV reached the numero uno position in only two weeks in the entire the year. Commenting on this, Vaidya said, “When we look at the No. 1 position, we don’t just look at it from the numbers’ perspective, but from the profitability angle. We believe we are the No. 1 profitable channel.”
Going ahead, the channel plans to focus on another revenue stream – subscription revenues. As far as ad revenues are concerned, Vaidya maintained that when it came to profitability and margins, Zee had a better business model in terms of cost efficiency and maximising profits.
On the plans for 2010, Vaidya noted that their prime time was stable as of now, but there would be continuity with change, which meant that storylines would not be dragged. “We have learnt from our past experiences that if we drag the storylines, the viewer decides to change channels,” he added. The channel is ready with replacement shows. This apart, Zee will turn its focus on more time slots such as afternoons, Sundays, weekends, and so on. The channel also plans to add more reality shows in 2010, which would come in many formats and not just singing and dancing related.
Tough beginning, but good 2009
Highlighting the key milestones of 2009, Vaidya admitted that the year had started on a difficult note as Colors had started doing well, while Star Plus was still the No. 1 channel. At the same time, shows on Zee TV, such as ‘Dulhan’ and ‘Saath Phere’, that were earlier quite popular, has gone on a downslide. It was then that the channel decided to tap into the 7.30 pm time slot and thus, launched ‘Choti Bahu’ and then ‘Dance India Dance’. The channel also took a different route with ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’, which was based on child trafficking and based in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. By doing this the channel reiterated that strong story lines were what mattered.
All in all, 2009 did turn out to be a good year for Zee as it remained among three channels. But Vaidya is not satisfied with that status as he affirmed, “We would definitely want to become No. 1, and while we keep increasing our profits, we would also like to surge way ahead of the competition.”