Television

News of encryption bad news for Zee ad sales in Gulf

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The Zee bouquet of 14 channels, which will be fully encrypted by 1 June, is likely to witness a drop in revenues in the Middle East markets, according to sources within the network.

There has been a drop in ad sales in the Gulf region for the channel following the news that the Zee bouquet is going fully pay. Advertisers have been pulling out because they see a massive fall in subscriber base once the channel is no longer free to air, the sources say. The Gulf market is very sensitive to price because expatriates from the Indian subcontinent who largely make up the viewership of channels like Zee have comparitively low purchasing power.

With conditional access systems well in place, subcontinental subscribers mostly access free to air channels which is why even Star Plus, which is doing phenomenally well in India, cannot really claim viewership relative to population in the region.

Though Zee officials have not given an exact date as to when the network will be encrypted other than saying it will happen sometime in May, sources say it will be from 1 June.

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