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Zee Classic does a programming rejig; ropes in Arjun Kapoor as its ambassador

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Zee Classic does a programming rejig; ropes in Arjun Kapoor as its ambassador

Hindi movie channel Zee Classic is all set to push the envelope with its latest programming strategy that will catalogue movies from each era into a separate time band. It claims to be the first channel in the Hindi movie genre in India to attempt such a strategy. To put more emphasis on it, the channel roped in Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor to be the channel ambassador for their brand new marketing campaign by FCB Ulka. 

“Kapoor knows his movies in and out and comes from a film background. Also he believes in this era,” Ruchir Tiwari, Business Head, Zee Hindi Movie Cluster explains the reason behind choosing the actor as their brand ambassador. The channel is expecting that bringing in the actor will expand the viewership and base of the channel.

Under this campaign with the theme ‘Aaj Ka Classic’, the channel defines a dedicated timeslot to each decade of Hindi Cinema. Aaj Ka Classic presents ‘Best of 80’s and 90’s’ on the weekdays at 4pm and 7pm that will showcase hits from those decades that saw the emergence of more than ten superstars including Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar. ‘The 70’s Mix’ will showcase blockbusters from the 1970s on weekdays at 1pm. ‘Shaandar Sixties’ will present movies of the 1960s on weekdays at 10 am. The golden era of ‘Black and White’ that set the foundation of the Hindi film industry will include masterpieces, showcased again on Saturdays at 7am. ‘India’s Finest Films’ presenting films like ‘Gandhi’ will be aired on Saturday at 10pm. Highlighting this brand campaign, exclusively curated movie festivals like ‘Jhakaas Kapoor Festival’, ‘Har Din Bachchan’ and ‘Shah Rukh Khan B’day Special’, amongst many others and specials like ‘Timeless Asha’ will be featured.

Tiwari shares the thought and motive behind this strategy, “At ZEE, we have the largest library of movies and now Zee Classic is adopting a strategic time band approach instead of the routine FPC approach. This strategy is a result of meticulous planning, acquisition and programming for an entire year which will ensure that Zee Classic caters to all kinds of viewers. This will give the audience an idea when to come and what to watch. This is done for a longer period of time.  We now have a detailed plan as to how this is going to help us grow the viewership. I see this channel being much more mass. Within its own specific space it’s doing 6 per cent. The ‘Aaj ka Classic’ brand campaign presented by Kapoor is the commencement towards the next chapter of Zee Classic, focused towards achieving 10% viewership share in the near future.”

Adhering to its proposition of ‘Woh Zamaana, Kare Deewana’, Zee Classic caters to more than three generations of audiences with exclusive 500 plus movie titles in its library with its long term planning and acquisition strategy.  The business head says, “Zee Classic will constantly innovate and keep pushing ahead the time clock of the channel by adding newer titles to the library with an aim to expand the viewer base of the channel. With this, Zee Classic will now be competing with the top rating channels in the Hindi Movie genre.”

 When asked about the core target group, Tiwari answers, “It’s by default someone who’s born in 80 or late 70s and grown up on 60s and 70s movies. The core would be 25 to 45.” What about bringing in younger age group? “Five years ago they weren’t coming to our channel. Moreover we were showcasing movies only from 70s. Over one and half years we have moved to 80s and 90s. With this we are officialising it. So loyalty will get more intensified,” Tiwari replies.

The whole programming revamp is sure to lure the advertisers. Ashish Sehgal, Chief Operating Officer, Zee Unimedia, agrees, “The introduction of time bands is also appealing advertisers besides FMCG like automobiles, mobile handsets, telecom amongst others. For the brand campaign ‘Aaj Ka Classic’, we have locked in three channel partners including SC Johnson, Hindustan Unilever and Dabur across all the time bands.”

As Tiwari puts it, the channel is becoming a destination for most brands today. “From 2004 to 2010, the channel recorded just 2% viewership share in the Hindi Movie genre. With consistent acquisition of content from different eras along with unparalleled marketing, the channel created a space for itself and a decade later, the viewership has increased to a whopping 6 per cent in this financial year. So advertisers can’t ignore the viewership. There’s a hardly a category that’s not on board. In fact they are banking on all time bands across the day.”

Any plans to bring out an HD version of this channel? Tiwari is still unsure about the timing but still confident about bringing it, “It’s tricky, we are working on it. We don’t want to do partly HD and partly old movies.  Getting pure HD content of older movies is a big challenge. Already we have 60-70 per cent of the library covered. But that’s on the anvil. It will come at the right time.”

On the revenue front, the channel is well placed and contributes 15 per cent revenue share in in the Zee Hindi Movies Cluster. Sehgal confirms it, “Zee Classic contributes a massive 15% revenue share in the Zee Hindi Movies Cluster amongst the SD channels – Zee Cinema, &pictures, Zee Classic, Zee Action and Zee Anmol Cinema. In the last three to four years, Zee Classic’s revenue has grown more than four times and as it’s evolving and currently it commands a premium rate at the existing ratings.”

When it comes to marketing a high decibel 360 degree marketing campaign has been launched including print, TV, digital and outdoor to promote Aaj Ka Classic. 

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