Zee Zest has a multi-avenue approach for revenues: Amit Nair

The Business Head of ZEEL’s new lifestyle channel Zee Zest shares more on the launch, lifestyle as a category and how the digital business of Zee Zest acts as a force multiplier to TV

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Nov 11, 2020 8:54 AM

It has been a month of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd launching its new lifestyle channel - Zee Zest. Apart from a line-up of Originals or local shows like ‘100% South Indian’, ‘India’s 50 Best Dishes’, ‘Ghar Sa Yummy - Swaad Familywala’, ‘Food Veda’, and ‘Meetha Toh Banta Hai’, the channel also has highly popular global shows for the first time in India like Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Parts Unknown Season 5’, ‘Jaime: Keep Cooking & Carry On’, ‘Far Flung with Gary Mehigan’, ‘MasterChef Australia - Season 9’ and ‘MasterChef USA Junior Season 5’. 

Amit Nair, Business Head, Zee Zest, spoke to exchange4media about the new channel launch, lifestyle as a category and the channel’s different revenue streams. 

Edited excerpts:

What led to the launch of Zee Zest - a lifestyle channel - amidst the pandemic?

At Zee, we keep evaluating the right spaces that would add value to the overall portfolio and to the viewer, who is always at the centre of all our builds. Since Zee was not present in the lifestyle space, it was decided to invest in the opportunity. 

How is Zee Zest going to be different from other channels in the category and also from the network's own channel Living Foodz?

Zee Zest offers content on a wide range of lifestyle aspects - from travel to DIY, Food, Home Décor and Wellness. This is something that others in the competitive set do not offer. It is a one-stop-shop for Indian audiences to gain perspective on desi and global offerings with shows that not only entertain but educate and add value to our viewers’ lives. The variety in content with the local appeal will liven up every moment of the viewer. It is a perfect encapsulation of travel, lifestyle, home improvement, food, wellness, and culture. 

What do you think will be the key growth drivers for the genre?

We will heavily invest in original content creation in the coming months. We are working on new ideas and newer formats. There will be a lot of content in collaboration with network channels as well. The aim is to deliver customized solutions to the brands as many of them are looking at content to deliver their marketing messages. The new line-up of content should also lead to more people subscribing to the channel and we hope to work closely with our distribution partners to build more on that piece.

How do you see the competition coming from VoD platforms? What is going to be your strategy to compete with them? 

The consumer is the same, the way he or she consumes the content on a medium may be different. Internationally, factual and lifestyle content does extremely well. With rising disposable income, consumption of such content will see an increase as it provides you a gateway into how to live a great lifestyle with taste. I haven’t seen too much Indian original content coming from any of the VOD platforms on culture, lifestyle, food and travel combined. That is the unique space where we tell great stories of the country and its people. Our content will be also available for catch-up on our website and on Zee5 on-demand in the coming months.

Since the channel is also available on Zee5, what is your digital strategy?  

Zee Zest is uniquely positioned in the segment, having a distinct TV and digital presence. The digital business of Zee Zest acts as a force multiplier to TV, thereby offering a differentiated and distinctive offering in the market. The publishing site will have multi-content verticals that will go by the philosophy of Discover, Engage and Fulfil. The site has a catchup of TV content, digital-first originals and trending stories in lifestyle which are action oriented. This is backed by the best-in-class design with a mobile-first strategy. The social handles will further drive new ideas for brands to engage via content publishing. All the content will be inter-linked to create a holistic and two-way communication with our consumers. Zest is currently only available on Zee 5 as linear TV.

Apart from the advertising and subscription revenue, is there any other revenue model you are exploring? 

Zest is a unique offering from the network and there are multiple revenue sources that we look at to make the business successful. The brand has a multi-avenue approach for revenues, advertising and subscription being the key pillars while international footprint, digital revenues and syndication will add a substantial portion to the pie. Branded content and brand integrations AFPs are integral as solutions to clients and we will continue to build on them. 

Since a lot of people are still at home, what are the marketing plans for the channel? What is going to be your media mix?  

We have an extremely well-curated line-up of shows from across sub-genres that sets us apart. The extensive data ensures we have the right mix. We will leverage our robust outreach enjoyed by our Network TV channels and strengthen our position as the purveyors of ‘Unlimit Life’. We are also leveraging the digital medium to reach out to every lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast and get them to sample our channel’s offering. 

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