Viewership comes first, revenue will follow: Punit Misra, ZEEL

We speak to Punit Misra, CEO, ZEEL, Domestic Broadcast Business, on Zee TV’s new look, its aim and the shaping up of domestic business

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Oct 16, 2017 7:43 AM

Punit Misra CEO – Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, Domestic Broadcast Business definitely has his hands full. A few weeks back the acquisition of 9XM for Rs 160 crore took place. Last month, Misra was inducted into the 12 member Indian Broadcasting Foundation Board of Directors. Now, Zee TV has undergone a new look with a fresh brand identity. We spoke to Misra on Zee TV’s new look, its aim, afternoon programming, what’s working for Zee Anmol and Zee TV and more.

How are you looking to amp up your revenue with Zee TV’s new brand identity? Are you planning to increase ad rates?

Today, people don’t buy a brand or product. They buy into something. It’s an important difference. Younger people connect with philosophies. If you make that connection then you develop empathy with consumers. They convert from rejecters to those who try, and then turn into loyalists. So viewership comes first and revenue follows. If I do all that and don’t get viewership why would anyone pay me more? 

Can you give us an idea about the kind of budget that went into the rebranding and the new logo?

Being the number one network and number one channel, we wanted to partner with the best. We have partnered with Martin Lambie-Nairn (MLM), the leaders in the industry. They created BBC channel logo. It’s been an incredible journey. They are masters of the craft. There are more to follow. We got them here and made them meet people to give them a sense of the country and of who we are as a brand. It was their first time. It’s incredible on how they were able to get the nuances. Then Publicis did the work beautifully. From December-January onwards, we started working on it.

Zee Anmol has been number one constantly. What has worked for it?

What works in its favour is what works for Zee TV. There’s a very deep consumer understanding. Both the teams of Zee TV and Zee Anmol understand that well. The content that gets on air is different in terms of the way it’s edited. That’s the dominant thing. FTA market has certainly helped to get more viewers. The addition of 25 million viewers is largely due to DD Freedish. But it’s good and bad. It’s good because it got the consumer and the eyeballs. It’s not so good because, in the long run, it’s damaging to the pay industry according to my personal view.

You completed a year. How is the domestic business shaping up?

We have become number one as a network so I would say not too bad. If I am not mistaken I think the last time that happened was in 2008/9. We were number one last week. The fact that we managed to get there just in a week of our birthday (October 2) was a big thing. I am talking about urban markets. In the Hindi Speaking Market (Urban+Rural) we have been number one for the full quarter. We are also doing some other stuff including the &Prive launch and the acquisition of 9XM, the music business.

How’s your regional business?

It’s going strong across board. It’s a big strength and will continue to be.

How’s the integration happening with BIG?

It’s completely seamless for us. Sales moved in immediately. Those synergies came in immediately.

What’s the aim of the new brand identity?

It’s two-fold. One is to ensure we stay at number one place on the back of creating content as true to this philosophy and have that plain back to aspire consumers. We want to continue leadership and strong endorsement through the brand. We want to track our consumers till the point they say, 'Yes, you are moving on to this point of view that you have created through your content'. We will look at all options to stay in the leadership position.

Any plans for an afternoon brand?

Obviously, we haven’t done it because we chose not to. But in all other regional markets, we do have an afternoon brand because it makes sense. Zee Marathi is a classic example. Few months back. we got afternoon original content on it because we believe it works there. We haven’t done it in Hindi because we believe it isn’t probably the right thing to do yet. Will it change tomorrow? Who knows?

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