Zee Cinema, Music in revamp mode

MUMBAI: Zee Cinema is in a for a complete programming shake up with the recent acquisition of 16 new movies to its library. So is Zee Music, the languishing music channel in the Zee bouquet.

ETC promoter Yogesh Radhakrishnan, barely three months into his job as head of the two Zee channels, seems determined to pull both out of their perceived lethargy and into active viewer attention.



Zee Cinema, despite being the frontrunner in its genre, is the first to get the revamp treatment. Gone will be the weekly Bollywood round ups and the endless countdown shows. The main attraction of the revamped channel is Ek Ka Teen Premiere - new Hindi movies that will make their satellite premiere on Friday 1 pm, with repeat telecasts on Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 9 pm.

Radhakrishnan says the innovative strategy will work as the TG for each telecast is different. The idea behind acquiring movies that have barely shaken the box office after their theatre release during 2002 is unique too - these are films that suffered at the cash registers due to problems with delivery, marketing or poor publicity, he says. The second attraction is Bollywood Tonight,, a daily news bulletin on the Hindi film industry, anchored by Samar Khan.

Films like Durga, Yeh Mohabbat Hai (Cinevistaas' maiden film venture), Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya and Ansh are bound to do well with audiences who have not had the opportunity of viewing them in the theatres, he says. Slotting of the movies will remain Radhakrishnan's key to the success of Zee Cinema, a channel which he says, is the most underrated in the Zee bouquet.

The channel will also go in for major brand building exercises like Bollywood events from the next fiscal. Zee Cinema, the oldest Hindi movie channel in the country, has thus far not aired events as a premium programming strategy. Zee Cinema, however, will continue to borrow sister Zee TV's blockbuster acquisitions (Gadar - Ek Prem Katha)is the New Year's Eve prime time attraction) even as it will continue to dip into its own 1,500 odd strong movie library and 30-odd strong ETC movie library.

Says Radhakrishnan, " The idea of repeating a show thrice a week is to attract different audience segments. Research shows that people tune in even at 10 am. Cinema is able to deliver ratings throughout the day as everyone watches this form of entertainment. For advertisers, the attraction lies in tripling unduplicated reach. Our concentration will rest on films that the SEC B & C have not seen either due to delivery problems or poor marketing efforts. "

Regarding the advertising and marketing strategy, Radhakrishnan maintains that his focus rests on having Zee Cinema on the prime band of every cable operator. "Beyond creating a basic level of awareness about new programme initatives, I do not see the need to splurge millions on outdoor advertising, radio and print."

Zee Music, which is next on Radhakrishnan's agenda, will appear in its new avatar in January, complete with new shows, ID and a focused TG in mind. For the time being, though, Radhakrishnan is keeping his plans tightly under wraps.


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