Listening to viewers has helped us reach the top: Business Head, Zee Telugu

As Zee Telugu completes 13 years, Anuradha Gudur tells us about the channel’s journey

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: May 25, 2018 9:35 AM

Zee Telugu, the first South Indian GEC channel from the Zee Network, completed 13 years this month. The anniversary month turned out to be extra special for the channel as it bagged the first slot in the Telugu GEC category in Week 19 (May 5 to May 11) of the BARC ranking.

Earlier, starting the year on a positive note, the channel went in for a facelift through re-branding and roped in actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu as its brand ambassador.

As the channel celebrates its 13 years, Anuradha Gudur, Business Head, Zee Telugu, shared the experiences of the journey with us.

Zee Telugu, like any new channel, had to face challenges in the beginning. However, adapting to changes and revamping content helped it climb to the top in the Telugu GEC market.

“The 13-year journey was extraordinary for Zee Telugu. We were the first South GEC launched by Zee. We had a great legacy, but the non Hindi regions were unaware of it. We were standing against the giants in the Telugu GEC and it was a difficult market to crack. But now we are No 1 in the urban market and has been ranked first in the BARC data for Week 19,” said Gudur.

Zee Telugu entered the Telugu GEC where players like ETV and Gemini had already established their strong roots among the audience.

“When the customer is already getting ample, it is difficult to cater to them with new content and needs. Zee Telugu had its ups and downs. The shows that helped us break the clutter initially were Aata (dance show), Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Gold Rush hosted by Udayabhanu. These programmes helped us to shift the market segment to the younger generation,” said Gudur on the initial days of the channel.

Zee Telugu later ventured into fiction as well with Chinna Kodalu, the Telugu version of Hindi soap Chhoti Bahu aired on Zee TV. Another show that helped Zee Telugu make a place for itself was Mee Inti Vanta, an instructional cookery show hosted by veteran actress Sumalatha. The show, which was telecast during the afternoon prime time, was a huge hit among the female audience.

Talking about the factors that led to the growth of Zee Telugu, Gudur said, “We listen to our audience and social media is one of the ways in which we do it. Apart from that, we do lot of ground surveys to see what viewers expect from Zee Telugu. Zee Telugu had a show named Gadasari Atta Sogasari Kodalu, where the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were brought together for game shows. This was one of the ways we stayed connected to the family audience.”

“We are inspired by the competition in the television industry. It encourages us to provide more innovative content to the audience,” she added.

“We are expanding into newer segments, the afternoon prime time slots are garnering more female viewers. We launched two matinee fiction shows last month--  Rakta Sambandham  and Gundamma Katha. We make sure we celebrate all festivals with viewers. We arrange celebrations for all major festivals. We recently held Zee Telugu Mahotsavam 2018 with a live audience,” said Gudur.

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