Zee Network, India's largest vertically integrated media and entertainment group, has launched Zee Arabiya, an unconventional new youth, music and lifestyle channel, which will cater to the Middle East region's 'international' yuppies and music lovers in English, Arabic, and other Asian multi-cultural programming mix.
The channel, the first of Zee's customised bouquets for the Arab region, will be telecast across three satellites – Nilesat, Arabsat and NSS – in a free-to-air format from November 9 onwards. It is also available on the basic packages of E-Vision and Pehla platform.
Speaking at the launch, Yogesh Radhakrishnan, MD & CEO, Real Media, said, "The launch of Zee Arabiya is in line with our ambitious plan of positioning Zee Network as a leading quality and family entertainment television network in the Middle East. We have served this region with quality entertainment for over eight years now and Zee Arabiya will continue this trend with more region-focused programmes. We are also proud to be the first Asian network to launch a free to air multi-language channel in this region."
"Arabic music and lifestyle has always been popular with Asian and Western audiences, but they did not have an opportunity to see the entertainment mix that this region has to offer. Arabic music will now be available to Asian audiences worldwide, thereby popularising the already popular Arabic music across boundaries and regions. Zee Arabiya will also bring the best of Asian and Western music to the Middle East region, " added Radhakrishnan.
"Zee Arabiya is expected to totally revolutionise the broadcasting industry in the region. The channel, uplinked through Samacom in Dubai will help Zee Arabiya reach nearly 55 million households across the region with the digital footprint covering the entire Middle East, North Africa, certain parts of lower Europe and Pakistan" said Ron Kapadia, Chief Operating Officer.
Moreover, the channel will be accessible to two million subscribers of Dish TV, Zee's DTH platform within India, thus becoming the first channel to showcase Arabic music and lifestyle to the millions of Asian homes across the globe and vice versa.
While this is the first time that an Asian network has launched free-to-air channel in the region, the channel will also be the first to create entertainment software, which will connect immediately to the target audience's lifestyle.
The programming will feature non-stop music blocks; interactive and SMS request shows; interviews with celebrities, entertainment news and vignettes that cover a wide spectrum of topics such as fashion, cars, holiday getaways, extreme sports, gaming, fitness, reality shows, upcoming concerts and much more.
"We expect that the biggest benefit to the viewer will be the localised content. Today, there is no television software within the region that allows Westerners, Arabs and Asians to share a platform for showcasing talent. Zee Arabiya's 24-hour programming content will become the foundation for sharing views and perspectives across the region and beyond. Our 60-strong Zee Arabiya team has been trained to understand the business of international entertainment, and initial feedback from advertisers has shown that the strategy is bang on," Radhakrishnan said.
The channel's commitment to this region will be phased in investments of over AED 105 million within the region. Zee has already received huge response from advertisers targeting youth from various companies in the FMCG, automobile and banking industries.