Zee to pump in Rs 2 billion into sports channel: Chandra

NEW DELHI: Zee Telefilms Ltd, which reported a 10.8 per cent growth in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 June 2004, would be investing about Rs 2 billion in its proposed sports channel in the initial phase.

Speaking to yesterday, Zee Telefilms CMD Subhash Chandra said, "Investments are an ongoing process. But we do plan to pump in between Rs 150 crore and Rs 200 crore (Rs 1.5 - Rs 2 billion) initially (in the proposed sports channel)."

This is not the first time that Zee Tele has thrown its hat in the sports broadcasting arena. Some years back, a Zee affiliate, Buddha Films, had attempted to do a marketing tie-up with Indian pubcaster Doordarshan relating to cricket matches.

Asked whether the sports channel would be in collaboration with Turner Broadcasting, a Time Warner group company, Chandra said those aspects would be "looked into now" after having finally acquired the telecast rights for Indian cricket for the next four years.

Chandra believes he has got a good deal "Now that we have got the rights, we'll start the process of setting up the sports channel. There is an offer from Turner, but we'll have to look into some other aspects too before we make any announcements in this regard (relating to a possible joint venture)," said the maverick media baron, who is credited with changing the face of Indian television market by starting the country's first Hindi language entertainment channel, delivered via satellite, over a decade back.

Some time back, Turner Broadcasting Asia-Pacific had written a letter to Chandra, offering collaboration on a sports channel, the details of which are still not available with the media. At present, Turner International India and Zee Telefilms have a 26:74 distribution joint venture called Zee Turner Pvt Ltd.

Wouldn't it be logical for Zee Telefilms to extend the relationship with Turner with the sports channel and, in turn Time Warner, if it wishes to take on other global giants like News Corp (Star's parent company) and Disney (ESPN's owners)? "These are business decisions that have to be taken after considering various other aspects and cannot be disclosed to the media always," Chandra said.

Zee Telefilms has also mandated FCB-Ulka, an advertising agency, to undertake a public opinion poll on a suitable name for the proposed sports channel. "We'd have to see what the agency has to say on the name," Chandra explained when asked what could be a likely name for the sports channel.

Some of the options on the names that are available with Zee include the traditional Zee Sports and the trendy Sportz, may be with an emphasis on the alphabet `Z' to denote its parentage.

According to company sources, a final decision on the name is likely to be taken either later in the day or over the next few days after Chandra returns from Chennai. He had been camping there over the weekend to make forceful presentations to the BCCI, which ultimately swung a split verdict on the issue in the cricket board in Zee's favour early Sunday afternoon.

Chandra also maintained that Zee has managed to get the telecast rights at a good bargain at $ 308 million, plus another Rs 930 million committed for the development of domestic cricket in association with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"As a businessman, I do calculations. The percentage increase in the number of days of available cricket is 33, while our bid was hiked by about 20 per cent. So, in a way, we have managed to get a product worth Rs 33 at Rs 20," Chandra, who was in a jovial mood, tried to explain the intricacies of bidding and winning.

Experts seem to agree with the Zee Telefilms logic. According to conservative estimates from the Hong Kong-based research agency Media Partners Asia (MPA), Zee's cricket coverage could potentially bring in revenues between $320 and $350 million over a four-year period against total cost estimate between $350 million and $375 million. MPA also estimates that net advertising revenues have the potential of touching approximately $160 million with distribution or subscription revenues at around $140 million, with 80 per cent generated from India.

Short-term losses bit long-term gains? MPA analyst Vivek Couto grandly explains, "Did Subhash (Chandra) and Zee overbid? Who cares? In the Mogul-ish scheme of things when Ted Turner bid for the Atlanta Braves or when Rupert Murdoch outbid Barclay Knapp at NTL to win the English Premier League in 90s, sure the bids were inflated and early losses were sizeable. But long-term returns (both tangible and intangible) were there for the taking too."

Isn't Subhash Chandra also sometimes referred to as the Asian Rupert Murdoch?

Latest Reads
Star Sports unveils #BattleofSixes campaign for the upcoming PAYTM India- West Indies ODI and T20 series

This festive season is set to take cricket fans by storm as the battle of sixes begins with India taking on West Indies in the PAYTM ODI and T20 series, starting Oct 21st and November 4th, 2018 respectively.

Television TV Channels Sports
LaLiga Football Schools launch in Kerala

LaLiga, Spain’s top football league, recently launched the LaLiga Football Schools in India. It is a comprehensive grassroots football development programme in association with India On Track

Television TV Channels Sports
Triple gold medalist and former autralian olympic swimmer, stephanie rice debuts as an expert presenter on vivo pro kabaddi season vi in india

This season Star Sports, the official broadcaster for VIVO Pro Kabaddi League 2018 lifts the spirit of the game a notch higher with the announcement of three - time Olympic Gold medallist, Stephanie Rice, as an addition to the illustrious expert panel.

Television TV Channels Sports
IndiaCast rejigs revenue top brass in bid to grow across markets, platforms

In a move aimed at synergizing processes and business opportunities to scale up revenues, IndiaCast, the domestic, international and digital distribution arm of Viacom18 and TV18, today, announced an organizational rejig of its revenue management structure.

Television TV Channels People
Sun TV, Star Maa only non-Hindi GEC channels in across genre list

For the second consecutive week in a row, the Sun TV Network’s flagship Tamil GEC and Star India’s flagship Telugu GEC Star Maa were the only non-Hindi GEC channels in Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) weekly list of top 10 channels across genre.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Infotainment genre’s steady shift towards localisation

It’s home! That’s the cry that almost every broadcaster is uttering today when it comes to wooing viewers with content. Even as kids’, lifestyle and GECs are witnessing an uptake in local content, the infotainment genre isn’t going to be left behind.

Television TV Channels Specialised and Niche
Amazon most advertised brand in BARC week 41

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released its data for last week’s top advertisers and brands between 6-12 October 2018. The data is a reflection of top 10 advertiser and brands across genre on Indian television (U+R) : 2+ Individuals.

Television TV Channels Viewership
No changes in Bhojpuri, Kannada, Marathi segments in BARC week 41

In the Bengali space, Jalsha Movies and Colors Bangla swapped their third and fourth positions in BARC data week 41. No changes were observed in the Bhojpuri, Kannada and Marathi segments. Moreover, Gemini TV and Zee Telugu swapped their second and third positions in the Telugu sector. Flowers TV...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Anil Ambani’s Reliance sues NDTV for Rs 10,000 cr

NDTV has been sued for Rs 10,000 crore by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group in an Ahmedabad court for its reportage on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The lawsuit is filed against NDTV's weekly show, Truth vs Hype, which aired on 29 September.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories