Zee Entertainment is preparing for the launch of 2 more channels over the next few months, according to ZEEL MD and CEO Punit Goenka who was talking to analysts yesterday in a conference call post the announcement of Quarter 3 FY 19-20 results.
The broadcaster has this month strengthened its portfolio with the launch of Zee Punjabi, Zee Biskope and Zee Thirai with further plans to continue to expand its offerings. ZEEL claims to have the biggest movie channel portfolio in the country.
While one of the launches will be Zee Picchar which according to ZEEL Head of Corporate Strategy and IR Bijal Shah will be launching in due course of time, there was no indication as to what genre the second channel would belong to.
Commentating on whether the channel launches would lead to higher quarter volatility Bijal Shah said, “Not really. See, this channel – I mean the channels, which are – 2 are movie channels and 1 more movie channel we would be launching in due course of time. And then there is Punjabi general entertainment channel. Now of these 3 movies channels, a good part of amount was already in our P&L. We did not have enough movies at that point of time. We were building library. And that is the reason why there was no movie channel. So this movie channel will not lead to very significant increase in costs. Punjabi will add to cost, but in overall scheme of thing, it’s very small.”
While there is no official confirmation ZEEL might be planning to expand its offerings in the Marathi market with a launch of a new channel named Zee Wajva. The channel is likely to be a Marathi Music channel and could be the other second channel to be launched in the next few months.
While the broadcaster hasn’t made any sort of statement on any expansion plans in the Marathi market, on 22 November it dropped a promo of Zee Wajva on the YouTube channel of Zing TV. The 30-second promo uploaded on YouTube before it was made private is in Marathi carries the Zee Wajva logo along with its tagline.
The 30-second promo starts with the audience calling on the DJ to play a song after which Zin Zin Zingaat mashup song can be heard to which the audience dances. The promo ends with the logo of Zee Wajva being shown along with its tagline.
The channel’s tagline is “Fakt Marathich Wajnaar” which means only Marathi will play. Zee already has a strong presence in the Marathi market with 6 channels namely Zee Marathi, Zee Talkies, Zee Yuva, Zee 24 Taas, Zee Marathi HD and Zee Talkies HD.
It currently has a presence in News, General Entertainment and Movie genre but doesn’t have a Music channel. The promo indicates that the channel is in all likelihood its upcoming Marathi Music channel.
The promo could only be launched by around 1000 people before it was taken those. However, those who saw it were excited at watching the promo. Shantanu, a TV Industry enthusiast said, “Content won’t be a problem for Zee as most of Marathi movies have Zee Marathi Music label. This might also be a sign that Zee will improve their Hindi Music channels or may expand to other regions with Music channels.”
Soham Bhadra, DreamDTH Contributor and TV Industry enthusiast said, “Zee has many Marathi channels already but no music channels in any regional language. Interesting that Marathi is the first language to get a music channel from a big national network (other than Star Maa Music and the Sun Music channels).”
DreamDTH had reached out to Zee Entertainment on 22nd November with a query on the promo. While ZEEL didn’t respond back to us it proceeded to make the video uploaded to private mode. Few weeks ago, we were told that there was no update on Zee Marathi music channel.
The broadcaster then on 25 November registered the logo with the Trademark Registry in which it was mentioned that the logo was already in use since 22 November 2019. It is likely that the broadcaster applied for license approval to MIB after 25 November.
ZEEL had earlier in 2017 agreed a deal worth Rs 160 crore to buy 9X Media which would have strengthened ZEEL’s music portfolio with 9X bouquet of six music channel offerings including Marathi channel 9X Jhakaas. However, the deal was later called off in 2018.