Television

Zee TV begins test signals for encrypted beam for Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal

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Subhash Chandra's Zee Network's plans to launch a separate encrypted beam for markets in the Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal under the Zee International banner finally took off today with a technical launch. 

This is to be followed by a formal launch in the Middle East by the beginning of May, in Bangladesh by the middle of May and in Pakistan as soon as cable operators are allowed to receive channels from Indian channels. 

The Zee International beam can be configured to take advantage of the prime time in the Middle East and South Asia, with the intent of providing customised programming. 

Zee International channel will open up markets for their full advertising potential and for enhanced pay revenues. Till now, Zee TV has been accepting advertising from these markets only in its late prime (post 11 pm) time slots. The separate beam will help Zee TV monetise all 24 hrs of its programming for airtime slots from these markets.

Currently most advertisers in these markets do not advertise on Indian channels because:

Advertising rates in India are much higher, especially during prime time. 

India's prime time is 1/2 hour behind Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan and 1  hrs ahead of Middle East. 

This means that advertisers in these markets do not derive maximal benefit by advertising on the top-rated programmes on India prime time.

Zee TV went pay in all these markets in June 2001. The separate new beam will not have any effect on the current decoder boxes already in place in these markets and will only require a quick one-time retuning of frequencies.

The separate beam allows Zee TV to tailor content to coincide with prime time in different markets while concurrently valuating airtime inventory at locally relevant and competitively attractive rates. 

Says Sandeep Goyal, Group CEO, Zee Telefilms: "As we had announced earlier, we are now ready to launch the Zee TV International beam. We have already started getting immense response from advertisers in the Middle East market, with clients taking up sponsorship of programmes like Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, Nilaam Ghar, Kohi Apna Sa, etc. We may not be able to offer the channel in Pakistan till the time the market opens up. However, we are already in the process of offering the same channel in Bangladesh and will soon start tapping the local advertising market there."

The channel will consider some content customization of the beam. Market relevant programming in Bangla, Punjabi and Urdu will be added to cater to viewers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Similarly, Zee TV may, at a future date, enhance some of the movie content on this beam, as Indian movies have a high fan following in all these markets. Zee has a 3000+ strong movie library while Bangla and Punjabi content may be cherry picked from its Alpha Channels.

S'PORE GOVERNMENT CORP'S STAKE IN ZEE 5.11 %: 

The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation's holding in Zee Telefilms has crossed the 5 per cent mark and now stands at 5.11 per cent of the total paid up capital of the company. 

This has been a creeping acquisition by Singapore Investment and Zee made the mandatory announcement on the Bombay Stock Exchange yesterday. 

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