Direct-to-home (DTH) and cable television can co-exist, as is the case all over the world including the US, said Pradeep Guha, chief executive officer (CEO) of Zee Telefilms, on Monday. Guha said DTH means addressability and added that it is the future of television.
Guha was speaking on the sidelines of a women’s conference held by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
On Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) order on providing content from rival bouquets basis on the DTH platform, Guha said that eventually, the ‘must provide’ clause would prevail.
In spite of the TRAI’s orders, rivals Sony and STAR are not sharing content on Zee’s DTH platform, Dish TV. This is considerably affecting Dish TV’s entertainment offering, Guha said.
Zee currently has around two lakh DTH subscribers, and according to analysts, the number needs to reach a figure of one million for this venture to break-even. When asked about the declining trend in revenue due to ‘rationalising of ad inventory’, Guha said, “We have taken some corrective action on that front.”
On reports of Zee launching an English newspaper in Mumbai, Guha said that though there was some discussion on launching a newspaper, nothing has been finalised yet.
“The whole problem lies in the media (television) industry. People see media in the form of genres. We are not looking at one channel, Zee TV, versus other channels. It is bouquet versus bouquet. As a bouquet, Zee Cinema is already ahead of Sony TV for the last four weeks,” Guha said.
“I don’t think it’s a fair way of looking at media. At the end of the day, Television Viewership Rating and Gross Rating Points are meant for only one thing, that is, where do I put my money as far as advertising is concerned. If one channel, irrespective of the genre, gets you more viewership than another, then that channel ought to be there,” he added.
“Zee Business is already on air and is doing all right. in due course of time it will develop. It will remain a Hindi channel, even though advertising revenues could be higher in an English channel. However, subscription revenue would come more from the language business,” Guha revealed.
Talking about Zee Sports, Guha said, “We have won the telecast rights for FIFA (Federation of International Football Association). However, there is nothing as powerful as live cricket in order to gain market penetration and attract viewers. But we will try to do our best in the given situation.”
Zee Telefilms is locked in a legal battle with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the telecast rights of international cricket played in India.
On asked whether Zee has any plans of entering into an alliance with other channels or investing in production houses, Guha said,”We don’t have any plans to enter into any alliance or invest in any production house. It makes no sense to have a stake in a production house. Both Balaji and Sri Adhikari will work for us whenever we want them to. Costing wouldn’t change. I don’t think STAR pays any less to Balaji because they have a stake in it.”
STAR has a financial stake in Balaji Telefilms and Sony Entertainment Television is in advance stages of negotiation with Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network to buy their broadcasting arm.