Zee News, Mid-day end content sharing deal

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The alliance between Mumbai Mid-day and Zee News is coming to an end as per an agreement this month.

The alliance for sharing content between the two, was hatched in August last year. It envisaged both Zee News and the popular afternoon tabloid giving each other space and airtime on their product for a specified time per week. Mid-day had also been given the mandate to put together an eight and half minutes news programme for Zee News, which was credited to the Mumbai newspaper. Zee, according to the deal marketed this programme among advertisers and paid Mid-day for the news product.

Contacted by in Delhi, ZeeTelefilms news director Laxmi N. Goel admitted that the Zee-Mid-day relationship is slated to "come to a natural end." Pointing out that there were no extraneous reasons for ending the relationship, Goel said, "If in future we go in for a such a news package deal (for Mumbai), it'd be with Mid-day only."

Mid-day Multimedia's Television Division COO Arindam Mitra when contacted, also reiterated that the contract was due to end on 31 March 2004, and that both companies did not wish to extend the alliance at this point. Pointing out that Mid-day had anyway not hired permanent staff for the Zee News programmes and that the work was being done by freelancers brought in for the project, Mitra said Mid-day's television division currently has its hands full with its foray into film production.

The company's first film, Black Friday, is based on Hussain Zaidi's novel on the serial bomb blasts that took place in Mumbai on 12 March 1993. The Rs 50 million project, which Mitra says will target both television and the big screen, will soon be marketed aggressively by the company. The film is being jointly financed by well known producer Jhamu Sughand and Mid-day. According to reports. the film is being released on international circuit initially, after representations at various film festivals.

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