Digital is a major growth driver for us in India: Sunita Rajan, Senior Vice President, advertising sales, CNN, APAC

In conversation with Sunita Rajan, Senior Vice President, advertising sales, CNN, APAC

Apeksha Mishra 16-August-2018

Think for a moment about where you get your news first. Though television’s popularity might be debatable today, TV news continues to be a big deal.

Global news brand CNN believes in delivering a good story-telling narrative, which is sought after by brands and users alike. Sunita Rajan, Senior Vice President, Advertising & Sales, CNN, is responsible for driving APAC advertising revenue for the organisation.

In an interview with exchange4media, Rajan, an industry veteran for over 25 years, reveals how the global news brand has evolved its digital consumer engagement model. 

Read the excerpts of the interaction below:

There is a huge shift in traffic from broadcasting news media to online news media. With the transition to digital journalism, do you think internet will soon be the future of news vs TV?

I think it’s a misnomer. TV can never be dead, not just in this market but globally as well. The audio visual medium does have a very strong connection, be it emotional or visual. Consumer habits have gradually evolved with technology, but the consumption of news is very much in the hands of the audience. As an international news brand, CNN has always been focused on breaking news. And when a big story breaks, people normally tend to turn to television. Be it a 7-inch screen or a 52-inch screen, for a brand, the most important thing is to offer a seamless consumer experience and to make sure that news is delivered in a timely manner. What matters is how one follows the same quality and values of journalism, and not the size of the screen one is looking at.

With online viewership soaring, will digital replace TV in due course of time?

Video is a huge area for growth when it comes to content consumption. While print, digital or website remain popular, video definitely catches one’s attention. Good quality video accompanied by original story telling will always find a viewer. Many of these new platforms are offering a lot of creativity and talent in several sections which is presenting the market with a lot of options.

There’s a happy co-existence of users enjoying cinematic experience, single TV viewers and those consuming video content online, especially the youth. This market is on a growth trajectory which is quite unprecedented. But when it comes to content, it is very much about authentic original content of premium quality which alone will thrive.

CNN being an international brand, how different is the media coverage of American market when compared to the Indian market. How does the difference impact India?

CNN is a world-wide market leader and is watched by most on a daily basis. With respect to the Indian market as a microcosm of what is happening in the international arena, news is the connective tissue which brings global stories to local economies and consumers. The US election story took centre-stage back then, and it didn’t matter where one was located.

Today, in the globally connected world that we live in, the Indian economy is placed in a very favourable position on the global stage. Policies laid down by the US government there does impact the daily lives of consumers in India. CNN’s story telling narrative makes foreign content relevant and resonate in the local market context in India. We cover major stories from India, be it news or feature programmes. But when it comes to the global news agenda, there isn’t a brand truly global as CNN.

With our Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu launching digital initiatives for ease of export, Indian content is increasingly being exported. With the growing demand for our content, how does CNN contribute in regulating a digital economy efficiently?

‘Choice’ is always difficult to regulate. Once you open up the market enabling consumers to engage with content, the floodgates open up, and curtailing it then becomes worrisome. We are living in a world where media and content have exploded and the consumer has the ability to make a choice. Our commercial model with digital is either an ad-funded video-based model or it is a subscriber-based model. We do work with cable and affiliate partners and we are also involved in content licensing, but essentially we are a news service available either through cable TV network or on digital.

While everyone seems to be leveraging technology, have marketers lost out on creativity and innovation?

I believe marketers haven’t lost out on creativity. The business necessity is to focus on RoI, which is forcing marketers to target audiences in a sharper fashion. Today it is all about reaching out to your users and making media buying and planning efficient.

We at CNN believe in creativity and focus on good authentic story telling, which is sought-after by brands. Our social video story telling network termed ‘Great Big Story’ narrates the real stories behind each of the iconic places. Our videos carry a surprise element in each story, be it of human interest, origins, food, tradition or travel. India is our third largest market for GBS, catering majorly to the millennial audience. As a brand, we creatively control the narration of stories, shaping of our videos in order to guarantee a 30-second viewer completion when we monetise our commercial partnerships.

Today we are also combining content with the audience story which is mainly about insights and platforms. We serve in the medium of TV, digital, mobile, social and our consumers can cherry pick what they are looking at. We even help brands narrate their stories and their association with us. We execute this through our in-house agency called Create where we focus on video and web video production, producing content for social, data targeting, audience acquisition and consumer insights. Create has an international presence for which we work with the commercial teams to foster brand partnerships. We live in a world where technology enables us to have conversations and interaction to stay globally connected.

How is CNN using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality with content to engage more with users?

In the news business, letting your online audience experience that moment of truth; helping them be a part of our story narration is of paramount importance. We engage in 360-degree videos to give consumers a deeper insight into our stories. We have had partnerships with Google Daydream and Samsung for VR headgears. When we relaunched our news app, we included 360 videos which then showcased a huge impact on our consumer experience. Our strategic focus in digital is very much on videos, mobile and social.

Can you elaborate on the Dos and Don'ts of being in the advertising business for a firm?

The advertising business in today has changed a lot. We have come from an era of a linear business to a multi-platform audience that one caters to. A brand needs to evolve constantly with time. From a customer relationship angle, one needs to be the best in class with integrity and professionalism towards your users. Trust is the brand value that anyone stands for. Our business is very much about maintaining relationships, human connection and understanding your users by listening to them. We are privileged to have a high percentage of user retention and renewal of clients.

How has CNN's growth trajectory been so far in Asia Pacific. Could you name a few promotional ideas which resulted in high advertising revenue for CNN's global platform?

We have transformed our business, largely driven by a changing media industry and changing market needs. CNN has invested in understanding its customers, technology, data, and creating tools and products for users to be able to apprehend this dynamic landscape. In India, our growth has very much come from the digital platform. Three years ago, we introduced ‘premium business sites’ to our news users where we doubled down on content from business, style, design and health categories. CNN Money, Style and Travel are our premium destinations that provide our users with both premium content and experience.

Senior Correspondent, exchange4media, Delhi Apeksha reports on technology and the digital domain. She is a B.Tech graduate turned media professional with 6+ years of experience working in the broadcast industry as a business reporter, and has done social media marketing.


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Joy Chakraborthy quits Network18

Chakraborthy was the CEO, Forbes India, and President (Revenue), Network 18 Media & Investments

Sonam Saini 15 hours ago


Joy Chakraborthy, Forbes India CEO and President (Revenue), Network18 Media & Investments, resigned from his post on Monday.

The development has been confirmed to exchange4media by Network18. A media veteran, Chakraborthy joined Network18 in May 2016.   

Before Network 18, Chakraborthy worked with BCCL as Director. He has also worked with TV Today as CEO and Zee Entertainment Enterprises as Executive Director (Revenue).

A graduate from the National Defence Academy with a master's degree in marketing management from NMIMS, Chakraborthy has also done an advanced management programme from Harvard Business School.

Principal Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Sonam reports on the broadcast media and Out of Home (OOH) industry. She has worked across television and cable industry, and in the past has written for travel and lifestyle magazines.


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It's time for Indian firms to compete with global players in their market: Punit Goenka

The MD & CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd says he does not want to become Netflix, but wants to give them competition

Nawal Ahuja 20 hours ago


Last week, Essel Group decided to undertake a strategic review of its shareholding in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) with a view to maximise value for the business. It was decided that 50 per cent stake in ZEEL will be sold to a strategic partner. Nawal Ahuja, Co-founder of the exchange4media group, caught up with Punit Goenka, MD & CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, to talk about the stake sale, possible partner, what changes will take place once a partner comes on board and much more.


Edited Excerpts:


What prompted you to go out and seek a partner to divest part of the promoters’ stake, given that you are fundamentally strong on some of the key aspects of media?


The aspirations of the family and company are to not only be a very successful South Asian diaspora media power, but go beyond the South Asians, to the global frontier. We do believe that we understand and can create content for the world if we get partners to help us in the two areas concerning technology and geographical reach. We have captured and conquered South Asians across the world and dabbled with some of the non-Indian languages in key markets like Middle East, South Africa, etc.


Our objective is to enable people to consider ZEE as a mainstream media company like a Disney or a Fox or NBC. Technology can be bought, although customising it to the consumer’s need requires a lot of effort. For instance, ZEE5 is our third attempt in the OTT world. Our first two platforms did not do as well as they should have.


If you look at companies like Apple or Netflix or Amazon… globally, they have tried to disrupt the traditional broadcast model, which has been ZEE’s stronghold for the last 25+ years. Given that, what would they see in a company like ZEE to become a partner?


The content capability of our company is not replicable in any way. Today, if you look at any media tech company operating in India, you’ll notice that they operate in a very niche market segment. They at best look at 1-2 per cent of this country because their content spread is restricted to 90-10, i.e. 90 per cent international and 10 per cent domestic. Whereas, in India, the consumption pattern of Indian consumers is their own preferred language content. Our own ZEE5 platform has 55 per cent+ content in regional languages, not just Hindi, within a short span of 6-7 months of its launch. The attractiveness of ZEE is going to be the inherent capability to create local content. Plus, ZEE5 has become the No. 2 OTT platform within six months of its launch because of the inherent value of the content that we possess and the investments we’ve made in the film libraries, etc. That’s the benefit we see.


Where does the family plan to deploy the cash? Are you looking at new business verticals? There were some talks that you might be looking at getting into the BFSI sector or launch some products there?


We are already in the BFSI sector in our SL Finance portfolio, which will be one place for us to use the capital. We want to look at other new age technology areas where we can deploy or have aspirations to expand the business. But, that’s something perhaps better explained by Dr Subhash Chandra. I am focusing on choosing the right partner and taking ZEE to the next level over the next five years.


What kind of a partner do you have in mind?


First and foremost, the most important thing is the value system. Irrespective of whether the partner has the same value system as us, as long as the meaning of what the two hold are the same, it will be critical for this partnership. It’s once-in-a-lifetime kind of a partnership that we create and therefore it’s critical for both organizations to have a similar value system. Willing to give them equal partnership with the family means that they will have equal rights, because eventually we will run this business jointly.


But the family currently heads the business operations. So what happens to that?

I value the family’s contribution and management of the business to help bring it this far. The plans for the South Asian diaspora are already in place for the next 3-5 years. I don’t see any reason why those need to be changed. They can at best be shored up, in terms of bringing those investments forward. I don’t see why a strategic partner should need to get rid of the family running the current business in its current form. But, if they choose to do that, we have a very good professional management team to run each of these verticals.


Since you are looking at expanding your global operations through this strategic investment, do you have a structure in mind?


Today, we are structured in a way that we have Punit Misra running the domestic broadcast business, and Tarun Katiyal running the ZEE5 domestic business. We will also be creating a separate structure for the global audience space, both for the broadcast and the digital piece. The broadcast piece for South Asia in the international market will be the current structure itself, because it’s a very lean operation and has not been growing significantly. Therefore, the focus will be all on the digital space for the international part.


How do you see the OTT space? Do you think that for broadcast companies, 10 years down the line, OTT is going to be bread and butter? That the majority of the broadcast companies of today will be OTT-driven tech media?


They would have to be, if they want to survive in the long term. If they want to remain only broadcasting companies, they will be at the bottom of the pyramid, because that’s where broadcasting will come down to. Whether that happens in 10 or 15 years is anybody’s guess. But the way I look at OTT, it will become the top and the middle of the pyramid, while at the bottom of the pyramid, will be broadcaster.


When you sold Ten Sports 18 months back, you made a conscious decision to stay away from sports, and one of the reasons was BCCI cricket being out of the purview. When it comes to OTT, do you think lack of sports makes a material difference?


I don’t think so. Netflix and Amazon Prime in the United States don’t have sports and they are the most successful OTT platforms in the world. The same logic applies for TV and OTT too. What is changing in OTT vs TV is that you can cater to a smaller community along with a mass community. Sports is event-driven; it brings in traffic and eyeballs at that event, but it’s not sustainable. The numbers fall off the moment the sports event is over. Plus, there’s the cost of acquisition. But it’s on the entertainment side that you have repeat customers coming every day, which is far more profitable than just having sports properties.


What is your opinion on the paper that the government has circulated on OTT content regulation?

It is largely to do with OTT services that are in direct competition with telecom service providers. So the voice and messaging OTT is being regulated. It is not covering the video part of OTT. That they are still leaving open.


Do you think at some stage, the government will be interfering there too?

I don’t know how you can exercise control in today’s environment in India where the Internet has become open. I mean, can they control Google or block porn sites? Even if they’ve shut down 300 sites that doesn’t mean that porn is not available on the Internet, right? If they had started those kind of controls 20 years ago, they would have achieved it today. But if they do it today, it will take them another 20 years to achieve that. We don’t want to create another China, which is a closed world in itself. It is not in the consumer’s best interests.


And where do you see Punit Goenka three years after the disinvetment is done?


I am tired of people telling me that companies with deep pockets have come to our country to compete with you. I want to go compete with these people wherever they are now in whatever small manner I can. I am not saying I want to become Netflix, but I am saying I want to compete with them. I have earned the right to do that. I want people to say that this is the first media company from an emerging market that has come and given us some competition. I want to make that mark.



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"This bride has many suitors," says Dr. Subhash Chandra

Dr. Annurag Batra, Founder & Chairman of exchange4media group, in conversation with Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group, on Zee’s plans ahead.

Annurag Batra 3 days ago


Two days ago, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) announced that its promoters will sell up to 50 per cent of their stake in the company to a strategic partner. The stake sale is being done for disruptive technological advancement and to transform the company into a media tech firm. The promoters currently hold 41 per cent stake; which means they will divest up to 20 per cent of Zee’s equity. The market is abuzz about Zee’s plans ahead. The company, which recently announced its financial results for FY18 Q2, posted a strong 24.9 per cent jump in the operating revenue in this quarter. Not just that, its OTT platform, launched earlier this year, is believed to be doing extremely well.

In the backdrop of all this, Dr. Annurag Batra, Founder & Chairman, exchange4media group, spoke to Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group, about Zee’s plans ahead.


Dr. Chandra, you are a pioneer. You see things before anyone else sees it. So if Dr. Chandra decides to sell a part of his company to be future ready, it becomes headlines. Are you seeing something that others are not?

I definitely believe that others are not yet seeing what I can see. But I am sure they will see that slowly. I understand that it's not only this medium, but virtually every single business is going to change because of the way technological developments are happening in every single field. Even a construction company will have to rework their entire organisation and the working structure because of technology.

For example, call centres have a very simple job. My prediction is that five years from now, nobody will be working at call centres. There will be robots and machines answering calls. In the next 5-8 years, one billion people will be rendered jobless globally. So everybody has to reskill now. Even the education system should be restarted with a fresh approach. As a member of the Upper House, I am going to raise this issue. The education has to be future ready.

Tell us specifically about media content.

Coming to media again, because of augmented reality and virtual reality, there will be a convergence of mobile, computer and other screens. It will not be just an audio & video medium in future. It will be a full-fledged market. And you will get whatever you need in this marketplace.

So you are saying content will be the glue that will create commerce, and services will be distributed using mobile screens.

Right, that's exactly what will happen.

Tell us about Zee5. In the last 12 months, it has touched the 50 million-plus subscriber mark. You have said one of the reasons to do this (stake sale) is to be able to work with technology partners to go global and increase ARPUs. Let's say, if a tie-up happens in the next 6-7 months, what will be the new ZEE like? What will be different from what we have now?

We know how to make the best of content at the best of price. And this doesn't mean that the popular perception of Zee spending less on content is true. It's not true. Zee knows the expenses; the cost of equipment and the cost of artistes and studio. Our mindset and DNA is of a content maker, whereas the Netflixes and Amazons of the world, Amazon particularly, have a trading mentality.

Our people did an analysis of Netflix's Scared Games in one of the monthly presentations, and concluded that the same show with the same artistes would have been done by us 40 per cent cheaper. And yet my producer would have had 15-20 per cent growth. We have managed to do it in the international market. Today, we are running 12 foreign language services in the international market. In Germany, which is a very mature market, we already have 1.5 per cent market share with our content from India repurposed and redirected with subtitles and dubbing. We have also started producing half an hour of original Russian content and two-hour per week content in Arabic language in the Middle East. We are doing every bit.

Zee will look at the partnership to get converged into a techno media company which has a global presence, catering to American, Spanic, Brazilian and other major foreign languages. And this will include OTT.  In India, we have 500 million Zee5 subscribers and we feel we can add an equal number of people internationally with the partner. I would say we will add 100 million-plus South Asians, and in the next 7-8 years, another 400 million mainstream video watch on OTT.  So it will be an unbeatable and unparalleled media distribution company which will get the kind of value that we can never get in India.

So, are you saying that you will get listed abroad at some stage?

Yes. Why not? That’s why I am saying it will be a very different company 7-10 years from now. I can see that happening. 


There is a huge speculation about who will be your partner. Various names are going around. Would you like to share? Also, what would you look for in the partner?

I would say that this bride has many suitors. We know what we want; we want a technology partner with technology superiority and the mass & muscle to help us fulfil our dream of becoming a global media company.

The chemistry between two people doing business is very important. Have you already found this chemistry?

We have bankers; and one of them is international banker Goldman Sachs and the other is American banking advisor LionTree. So we have had this discussion. If it's American cooperation, we have to agree on a business model on the basis of what both of us expect 5-10 years from now. Once we figure that out, it's easier for this marriage to succeed. If you see our past record, we have had good partnerships.

You said American, so is it Amazon or Google?

No, I am saying that if it's American, we will have do the same exercise of agreeing on the direction again. An American cooperation would have a separate kind of expectation from future whereas a Russian company has a separate set of thinking. We have to align, and once it's done, there is no problem, particularly with Amit (Goenka) and Punit (Goenka) mostly running the company.

During discussions with me, you have always looked at two companies, Disney and Discovery.

Discovery is a traditional media company and has vast distribution globally. And I love the company for that reason. We are one step behind them in terms of the number of eyeballs globally. They have 1.5 billion and we are at 1.3 billion. On the other hand, Disney has a vast array of offering that nobody has in India. They have amusement parks, cruise ships, children programming and much more.  

What do you think about Rupert Murdoch partnering with Disney?

Their objective was that ‘I can’t fight with this big techno media company who is spending billions in programming’. But my feeling is different. He would be the single largest shareholder of Disney with 5 per cent holding and he has the right to choose the successor of Bob Iger. He is a smart businessman. To my mind, he has bought Disney rather than selling.  

What do you have to say about Jio and its strategy of buying all distribution companies?

As a telecom company, they have done really well. Even their competitors say ‘we never thought the way Jio thinks’. They admire them.

What if Mr. Ambani and Mr. Chandra come together?

You never know what would happen. I will not name any one. It's early.

Few predictions for future?

Technology will change the business. By 2055, India will become a 100-trillion dollar economy and number one globally, because the demographics are in its favour. It will surpass China and America and that will be hell of a lot for any kind of business.

(With inputs from Sonam Saini)

Annurag Batra is a serial entrepreneur, media mogul, a journalist and an eternal optimist rolled into one. He is a B. Tech in Computer Sciences, a degree, which he acquired before joining Management Development Institute MDI Gurgaon (Now its Gurugram), one of India's leading Business School. He is a first generation entrepreneur and after acquiring the iconic business media and magazine brand BW Businessworld. a 35 year strong media brand as well as most respected business publication in the country.


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Star Plus regains top spot in urban market: BARC Week 45

Zee Anmol continued to lead both overall and rural market

exchange4media Staff 4 days ago


Zee Anmol continued to lead the overall market with 812 million impressions, followed by Star Utsav on the second slot with 666 million impressions and Star Bharat on the third spot with 660 million impressions, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India Week 45 data.

Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya lead the top five programme list in Week 45 with 13.1 million impressions, followed by Colors’ Naagin3 on the second slot with 12.7 million impressions. Zee Anmol’s Mahek stood on number three with 11.9 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya and Kumkum Bhagya bagged fourth and fifth slots with 11.3 and 9.7 million impressions, respectively.

Hindi GEC Urban

Star Plus regained its leadership position in the urban market. The channel registered 430 million impressions and was followed by Colors on the second slot with 402 million impressions and Sony Entertainment Television on the third slot with 401 million impressions. Zee TV and Star Bharat bagged fourth and fifth spots with 387 and 315 million impressions, respectively.

Colors’ Naagin3 continued to dominate the list of top five programmes in the urban market with 8.4 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya bagged the second spot with 6.8 million impressions followed by Kumkum Bhagya on the third spot with 5.6 million impressions. Star Plus’ Star Parivaar Awards 2018 and Kulfi Kumar Bajewala stood at number four and five with 5.6 and 5.1 million impressions, respectively.

Hindi GEC Rural

Zee Anmol continued to lead the rural market with 667 million impressions, followed by Star Utsav on the second spot with 467 million impressions and Sony Pal on the third with 426 million impressions. Star Bharat and Dangal TV stood on the fourth and fifth positions with 344 million and 327 million impressions, respectively.

Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya continued to lead the list of top five programmes with 11.0 million impressions followed by Mahek on the same channel at the second slot with 9.8 million impressions. Star Utsav’s Rabba Ve stood on the third spot with 5.8 and Sony Pal’s Taarak Mehta Ka OOltah Chashma on the fourth spot with 5.7 million impressions and Gutur Goon on the fifth slot with 5.6 million impressions.


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Sumit Awasthi all set to join ABP News as Consulting Editor this week

Network 18 Deputy Managing Editor Sumit Awasthi had resigned from his post in September

Abhishek Mehrotra 4 days ago


Network 18 Deputy Managing Editor Sumit Awasthi, who had resigned from his post in September this year, has completed his notice period with the channel. According to information available with exchange4media, Awasthi will join ABP News as the Consulting Editor this week itself. 

ABP News is expected to soon start airing promos of Awasthi’s new show. It is being said that Awasthi will lead the channel's coverage on the days of state election results.  

Talking about Awasthi, Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News Network, said, "Sumit is a very reputed journalist. I have personally seen some of his work and have worked with him earlier. We are very happy that Sumit is joining ABP News soon.”

Awasthi, who started his career with Zee News, has close to 22 years of experience in the filed of journalism and has worked with some of the top media houses in the country. He is one of the well-known news anchors today and has helmed several big prime-time shows on Aaj Tak and Zee News.  

Prior to joining Network 18, Awasthi was Resident Editor at Zee News, where he served a short stint of 11 months. Awasthi has also been associated with Aaj Tak for almost five years where his last-held designation was Deputy Editor. His major forte has been in the realm of political reportage, but he has also extensively covered cricket and international affairs too. 


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We are looking to bring technology partners: Subhash Chandra on ZEEL stake sale

Essel Group plans to divest up to 50% of its stake in ZEEL

exchange4media Staff 6 days ago


Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group is looking to divest up to 50 per cent stake in the Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL). 

“It has been decided to undertake a strategic review of Essel's shareholding in ZEEL with a view to maximize value for the business. The proposed transaction to divest up to 50% of Essel's holding to such a partner, is expected to address the Essel Group's capital allocation priorities and will allow ZEEL shareholders to capture the full value of India's largest entertainment broadcaster with an ever strengthening bouquet,” the company said in a statement.

“Essel has decided to appoint Goldman Sachs Securities (India) Ltd. as their investment banker and US and European based LionTree as an international strategic advisor for this exercise,” it added.

Talking to exchange4media exclusively, Dr Subhash Chandra shared, “This is a stake sale as we are looking to bring technology partners. And as part of that, we may offload a stake. We are the leaders in the South Asia diaspora and audiences and we plan to stay like that. We are making the business even more future ready.”

The statement mentioned that Subhash Chandra and family along with its advisors met in Mumbai over the Diwali weekend to undertake a strategic review of its businesses in view of the changing global media landscape.

The strategic review underscored the importance of technological advancements such as AI, lOT, 3D printing AR, VR and more.

“There is informed recognition that the world is convergent today and the lines across media, telecom, manufacturing and technology are thinner than ever. The semi-conductor business also appeared to be a promising opportunity, but due to its large capital requirement it was ruled out. It was observed that these developments will impact virtually all businesses across sectors and business practices will be driven by technological innovation. The review showed that the family needs to accelerate efforts to stay ahead of fast changing trends,” the statement said.

The review noted that with the current 1.3 billion viewers and close to 50 million digital viewers growing at a fast pace, ZEEL is well placed to benefit from current market trends due to its strong brand and bouquet of domestic and international channels.

“Adding to that strength, ZEES will further enable the company to leverage the benefits of changing video consumption trends, contributing significantly over the coming years. The management of ZEEL under Punit Goenka and Amit Goenka has been well appreciated by all stakeholders and reflected in the performance of the company,” read the statement.

Speaking on where the business stands today, Jawahar Goel said, "Punit and Amit have made the right sustainable investments for the future and the business is growing ahead on all fronts in a focused and disciplined way." 

The statement further mentioned, “On its own, ZEEL would remain a leader in both linear and digital distribution. It has the consumer insights and knowhow to produce and deliver content for the South Asian diaspora globally. The management depth the company has built over last two decades distributing content globally in 12 foreign languages puts the company in a unique position. It has strong revenue streams including advertising and subscription - domestic and international. However, there is recognition that a right global strategic partner will help in transforming ZEEL further, and maximise long term value. It will transform it into a global media-tech player with a unique offering of content to the main stream audiences in 170 plus countries putting it into a king position globally.” 

Essel expects the outcome of the strategic review to be concluded by March/April 2019.

“We hope that this transaction will meet the objectives of the Essel Group as well as the minority shareholders of ZEEL. India remains a priority market for Subhash Chandra and the Essel Group and the family believes that India is at the cusp of significant growth. The family will continue to invest in growth opportunities in India. Regardless of the outcome of this exercise, Essel is committed to create significant long term value in ZEEL and shall keep on contributing in every possible way going forward,” the company said. 


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Zee TV replaces Star Plus as the leader in urban market: BARC Week 44

Zee Anmol continued to lead the overall and rural markets

exchange4media Staff 1 week ago


Zee Anmol continued to lead the overall market with 809 million impressions, followed by Zee TV on the second slot with 790 million impressions and Star Bharat on the third spot with 758 million impressions, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India Week 44 data.


Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya lead the top five programme list in Week 44 with 13.0 million impressions, followed by Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya on the second slot with 12.7 million impressions and Colors’ Naagin3 on the third slot with 12.3 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kumkum Bhagya and Zee Anmol’s Mahek stood at the fourth and fifth positions with 10.8 million and 10.5 million impressions, respectively.  


Hindi GEC Urban


Zee TV replaced Star Plus at number one position in the urban market with 472 million impressions. Star Plus fell to the second spot with 450 million impressions. Sony Entertainment Television took the third spot with 421 million impressions. Colors and Star Bharat stood at the fourth and fifth spots with 416 and 365 million impressions, respectively.


Colors’ Naagin3 continued to dominate the list of top five programmes in the urban market with 8.2 million impressions. Zee TV’s Kundali Bhagya bagged the second spot with 7.6 million impressions followed by Kumkum Bhagya on the third spot with 6.3 million impressions. Star Plus’ Kulfi Kumar Bajewala and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai stood at the fourth and fifth positions with 6.3 million and 6.1 million impressions, respectively.


Hindi GEC Rural


Zee Anmol continued to lead the rural market with 656 million impressions, followed by Star Utsav on the second spot with 473 million impressions and Star Bharat on the third with 393 million impressions. Sony Pal and Dangal TV stood on the fourth and fifth positions with 377 million and 339 million impressions, respectively.


Zee Anmol’s Kumkum Bhagya continued to lead the list of top five programmes with 10.8 million impressions followed by Mahek on the same channel at the second slot with 8.6 million impressions. Star Utsav’s Rabba Ve stood at the third spot with 6.3 and Dangal TV’s Ramayan on the fourth spot with 6.1 million impressions. Zee Anmol’s Ek Main Aur EK Tu bagged the fifth spot with 5.8 million impressions.



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Zee Kannada unveils new brand proposition & identity

The new brand image was revealed by Rocking Star Yash at the Zee Kutumba Awards 2018

exchange4media Staff 1 week ago


Zee Kannada has unveiled a new brand identity and launched its HD channel. The unveil and launch took place at a grand ceremony at the Zee Kutumba Awards 2018, where Rocking Star Yash did the honours of launching the refreshed brand image with the entire Zee Kannada family.

Based on insights from extensive consumer research, Zee Kannada understood that the Kannadiga woman has always been nurturing and caring, but her canvas of expression for ages was limited to a homemaker, the channel said in a statement. However, now she is partnering, mentoring and leading the transformation in her home and in the society. The evolution in society has stretched this canvas of possibilities for her. She sees more & more women exploring and experiencing the new. Her only challenge being the pressures of conditioning, people’s opinions and self-doubt that maybe pulls her back from exploring these possibilities to the fullest of her potential.

Building on this consumer sentiment and with the objective of giving the channel’s viewers that innate spark to break their limits in their mind and open doors to possibilities, Zee Kannada has revealed its new brand proposition, 'Bayasid'dha Bāgilu Tegiyōṇa', which translates to ‘Open Doors to Possibilities’, to inspire viewers, especially women, to take initiatives and rise above circumstances to craft their own destiny.

Zee Kannada’s shows have always been about characters who break the limits of their mind. Be it fiction or non-fiction, each and every creation by the channel inspires millions to break their own limits and stands as a platform that open doors to extraordinary possibilities; be it the story of Kamali who didn’t let her origins limit her ambitions, or Geetha not letting her obesity be a limitation when it comes to winning the love of her husband. Each of Zee Kannada’s content, characters & creations unite to inspire women every day, with the energy to un-limit the limits set by conditioning, open the doors of their mind and achieve the extraordinary.

Commenting on the new brand identity, Raghavendra Hunsur, Business Head of Zee Kannada said, “Over the last 12 years, Zee Kannada has earned the dominance of being the entertainment hub in the Kannada television market. With a refreshed brand purpose, we strive to inspire our viewers to break their barriers and look beyond their limits to achieve the unachievable. Synonymous with the Kannadiga pride, Zee Kannada will stimulate women with progressive and onward-looking entertaining content, featuring bold and determined characters that echo the channel’s new brand image. We are bringing new shows and extending our prime time shows on weekends to amplify the viewing experience. Our fiction shows will be taking dramatic turns to bring alive the brand proposition and the journey going forward is going to be very exciting and inspiring.”

He added, “We are also glad to announce on this occasion the launch of Zee Kannada HD, which was much desired by our viewers and we are hoping to enhance their content viewing experience further with the HD Channel.”

Echoing the new brand positioning of Zee Kannada, the channel will undergo a transformation with the key existing fiction and non-fiction shows. Kamali, Brahmagantu, Jodi Hakki, Subbalakshmi Samsara, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Season 15, and Shree Vishnu Dashavatara will witness significant plots that would bring alive the brand promise. A new fiction show launch is scheduled for later this year – Paru, the story of a poor girl falling in love with a rich boy and having to overcome limitations in a home that thrives in a strong class conflict scenario.

As part of this campaign, Zee Kannada will bring to life its refreshed brand promise with a brand film that showcases a housewife who breaks the limits in her mind and learns how to ride a two-wheeler, to get her daughter to her tuition classes on time; how her husband is supportive of this decision of hers and how this new opportunity contributes to the betterment of the family, forms the crux of the film. The lilting background score to the film has been sung by Bombay Jayshree.

Zee Kannada is accompanied by a brand-new logo, and a refreshed look for the channel on-air, as well as off-air. Zee Kannada’s new logo and packaging is based on the theme of radiance that transforms, bursting with inspiring energy, enthusiasm and warmth.

The campaign breaks with an extensive multimedia plan, unfolding across television, trade, print, radio, outdoor, mobile, cable, digital and on-ground events, for over 8 weeks, covering the length and breadth of Karnataka – all 30 districts, including 8 major towns, ensuring a top-of-mind recall in the minds of the audience.


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Star India publishes rate card as per TRAI Tariff Order

The network is also planning to launch four channels by December 31, 2018

exchange4media Staff 1 week ago

star india

After the Supreme Court dismissed Star India's appeal challenging the tariff order of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) paving way for implementation of the tariff order passed in 2017, the network has published its Rate Card as per Tariff Order and Interconnect Regulations 2017.

The network has also announced the MRP of soon to be launched channels by December 31, 2018 which includes two sports regional channel Star Sports 1 Telugu and Star Sports 1 Kannada along with two Hindi movie channels Star Gold Thrills and Star Gold Thrills HD.

Star is offering 28 bouquets with four different variations to cater to the diverse consumer segments based on their consumption:

- i) Base- A Bouquet that brings to you the best of entertainment, sports and movies channels in your language of choice (“Base Offering”).

ii) Premium- On top of Base Offering, Premium Bouquet includes English language offerings and Channels with a differentiated content proposition that some of our consumers would love to opt for (“Premium Offering”).

iii) HD-Base- Base Offering with superior viewing experience (includes HD channels for the corresponding Base offering wherever available) catering to viewers of High Definition channels.

iv) HD Premium- Premium Offering with superior viewing experience (includes HD channels for the corresponding Premium offering wherever available) catering to viewers of High Definition channels.

Click link to see full list:

Early this year, Star had approached the Apex court questioning TRAI’s jurisdiction to frame tariff order on the grounds that the authority has no jurisdiction on content as that actually comes under Copyright Act and not TRAI Act.

The appeal was filed against the fractured judgement passed by a two-judge Bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar. The bench had given a split verdict. Justice M Sundar had ruled in favour of Star. Commenting on the judgement delivered by Justice M Sundar, the Supreme Court order stated, “I am unable to agree with the conclusion of M. Sundar, J. that the provisions of the impugned Regulation and the impugned Tariff Order are not in conformity with the TRAI Act. In my view the impugned provisions neither touch upon the content of programmes of broadcasters, nor liable to be struck down.”

“However, the clause putting cap of 15% to the discount on the MRP of a bouquet is arbitrary. The said provision is, in my view, not enforceable. In my considered view, the challenge to the impugned Regulation and the impugned Tariff Order fail,” the order read further.

The 2017 Regulations prevented the mixing of pay channels and free to air channels in a single bouquet.  The Regulations restricted placing high definition format and ordinary format of the same channel in the same bouquet.  Another restriction was that a bouquet of pay channels should not contain any pay channel where the Maximum Retail Price is more than Rs.19/.


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ZEEL’s Ashish Sehgal gets new role as Chief Growth Officer

The change of designation comes as a result of dissolution of Zee Unimedia, a vertical that was set up to boost ad sales monetisation by the broadcast network in 2016.

exchange4media Staff 1 week ago


Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has promoted Ashish Sehgal, the former Chief Operating Officer, ZEE Unimedia,  to the position of Chief Growth Officer. The change of designation comes as a result of dissolution of Zee Unimedia, a vertical that was set up to boost ad sales monetisation by the broadcast network in 2016.

Having served a stint of over a decade at ZEEL, Sehgal was earlier handling the sales function of the network in the capacity of Chief Sales Officer, till 2016, when he was shifted to Zee Unimedia. Prior to that, Sehgal had spent close to six years with Star India as Vice President. He was last heading all India sales for Star Gold in 2006, when he moved to Zee as Branch Head (North).


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