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
Zee Anmol most watched channel across genres

BENGALURU: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) free to air (FTA) Hindi GEC Zee Anmol has reached the realm that has been normally occupied by the Sun TV Network’s flagship Tamil GEC Sun TV or by one of the Hindi channels that has been airing the Indian Premier League. What is remarkable is...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Star India mulls adding VR to PKL 6

MUMBAI: Star India is taking the Indian Premier League (IPL) experience to other sports. After a phenomenal reception for using virtual reality (VR) in IPL 2018, it is diversifying into Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season six.

Television TV Channels Sports
BTVI to leverage digital mediums for growth

MUMBAI: English business news channel BTVI is completing two years in August this year. The company was transformed from Bloomberg TV India after Bloomberg decided not to renew its deal with Business Broadcast News. BTVI got its COO Megha Tata in 2016 at the same time it got its new name. 

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Zee TV the leader amongst GECs

As per the recently released BARC HSM weekly data (Urban + Rural) for week 20 ’18, Zee TV has claimed the top position in Hindi GEC space with 316640 impressions in HSM and 199155 impressions in urban markets and saw a robust growth across its primetime fiction shows. The channel continued to be a...

Television TV Channels GECs
Zee TV the leader amongst GECs

As per the recently released BARC HSM weekly data (Urban + Rural) for week 20 ’18, Zee TV has claimed the top position in Hindi GEC space with 316640 impressions in HSM and 199155 impressions in urban markets and saw a robust growth across its primetime fiction shows. The channel continued to be a...

Television TV Channels GECs
Bloomberg|Quint’s The Mutual Fund Show marks one successful year of educating viewers on personal finance

MUMBAI: India’s premier business and financial news company, has recently announced the completion of one successful year of its highly popular series ‘The Mutual Fund Show’. The feature, streamed across multiple platforms to a wide user base, provides critical guidance to India’s new generation...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Cartoon Network Enterprises’ new Back to School collection

To kickstart their new school semester, kids can now flaunt and stock up the coolest & cutest school essentials! Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), the global licensing and merchandising division of Turner India, brings to kids a brand new Back-to-School collection at offline and online retail...

Television TV Channels Kids
Summer of fun and excitement with india’s no 1 kids entertainment destination - Nickelodeon

India’s leading kids’ entertainment franchise Nickelodeon has kids beat the summer heat with a host of exciting and fantastic entertainment spread of new movies and new episodes starring favorite Nicktoons. Adding to the excitement are interesting and once in a life time opportunities for kids to...

Television TV Channels Kids
Zee Anmol retains leadership in GEC (U+R) in week 20

Star Plus and Star Utsav swapped their sixth and seventh positions in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data of week 20 of 2018 in the Hindi GEC (U+R) market, whereas in rural markets no changes were observed as compared to the previous week. Sony Sab and Star Bharat exchanged their...

Television TV Channels Viewership

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories