Zee TV launches dedicated Singapore feed

NEW DELHI: Singapore seems to be flavour of season for Indian channels and those operating here. The Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Network has launched a dedicated beam of Zee TV for Singapore as of 1 June.

Additionally, Zee Telefilms is also negotiating with the local cable service provider in Singapore to carry more Zee family channels, including Zee Cinema.

Speaking about the launch of the service, Zee Telefilms president Abhijit Saxena told, "This dedicated feed would help us tap local advertisers more effectively as too those from India and elsewhere who have business interests in Singapore like Indian retailers."

Pointing out that Zee was happy to announce the launch of a separate encrypted beam for Singapore viewers, Saxena added, "The viewers of Singapore will be able to watch Zee TV at their local time and not (two and a half hours) ahead of India as Singapore (currently) receives the India feed."

According to Saxena, the content on the new schedule will be tailored to the needs of the Singapore viewers. The effort would be also to create a more viewer- friendly programming schedule necessitating some changes in the fixed-point chart.

The Zee TV feed is on the StarHub network that services cable homes in Singapore and at the moment, Zee TV has 25,000 paid subscribers at the rate of Singapore $8. However, Saxena did not divulge other financial details like the revenue sharing arrangement.

Naturally, it also opens up avenues for Zee Telefilms to augment its advertising revenue by booking Singaporean ads at local prime time. "It (having a dedicated feed) opens up opportunities for advertisers who currently face extremely high advertising rates on the India feed," Saxena said, but added that at the moment he would not be able to dwell on the new rate card as it was still being worked out.

Pointing out that the new rate card would "substantially reduce the effective rates" paid by advertisers now, Saxena said that the new rates should come into force "within a month or two."

Zee TV launched a separate beam for the Middle East and Bangladesh markets in September 2002. The Singapore feed will further be extended to the rest of South East Asia, thus coinciding with prime time in different markets and concurrently valuating airtime inventory at locally relevant and competitively attractive rates.

The new beam is uplinked out of Singapore and is available on the Asiasat 3S satellite.

Asked whether more Zee channels are expected to have a dedicated feed/beam into the Singapore market in future, Saxena said, "We are currently negotiating with StarHub for Zee Cinema and expect that once it (the service provider) launches its digital service, more channels would be accommodated on the platform."

Interestingly, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Star Group, has just announced that it would be launching Star Plus in the Singapore market on StarHub on 2 August. This, however, is not a dedicated feed like that of Zee TV but the same feed as that which beams over India.

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