DTH

Zee DTH channel Smile TV now on cable

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MUMBAI: Smile TV, the niche comedy channel that made its appearance on Zee's DTH platform Dish TV late last year, is now being made available through cable too.

While Smile is being pushed as 'India's first 24 hour comedy television channel', the other niche channels like Zee Classic (old Hindi films), FX Movies (English action movies), Premier Movies and Action are not being offered on cable. Yet.

Zee has launched an outdoor campaign for Smile, to create a consumer pull for the product. According to Essel Group corporate brand development group head Ashish Kaul, Smile is being offered to viewers as part of the Zee bouquet in all areas where Zee Group MSO Siticable is present.

Smile TV business head Abhijit Saxena says that while sitcoms and Hindi comedy films form the bulk of the programming now, sitcoms will form only a small part of the programming that the channel intends to offer over a period of time. Talks are on with production houses in the country for fresh comedy programming, that could also include other sub-genres of comedy like stand up and spoofs. The complete programming mix for the digital FTA channel should mature in six months' time, estimates Saxena

Claiming that Smile is the only 24-hour comedy channel in the country (Sab with its mix of current affairs and comedy shows does not qualify as one, he says), Saxena says the channel is currently dipping into the Zee library for its programming.

Saxena oversees Smile as well as FX, the action movies channel in the Dish TV basket, while the other three niche movie channels, Premier, Action and Classic are being nurtured by Yogesh Radhakrishnan, who also looks after Zee Cinema and Zee Music.

While Smile has been added to the Zee bouquet over cable, the network also has plans to beef up the Dish TV bouquet with about 50 channels shortly, and intends to launch a marketing blitz to beef up the overall communication and marketing strategy.

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