MUMBAI: Zee Telefilms' lone southern player Zee Telugu has completed six months. The channel, originally soft launched in September 2004, was re-launched in May 2005 with a new game plan.
The re-launch had initiated a shift in positioning, from the mass based general entertainment mode to an upwardly mobile and young milieu. The new strategy will see Zee Telugu targeting the SEC ABC (15 to 34) group.
After six months of existence, now the channel has identified a few programming properties which have got the potential to play a long innings on the channel.
Topping Zee Telugu's strategy as the channel driver is the interactive gameshow Gold Rush, running Monday to Thursday from 9 pm to 10 pm. Anchored by popular Telugu television personality Udayabhanu, the show is targeted at housewives. The channel has been using a locally created format and the winners are awarded gold as the name suggests.
As per the Tam data offered by the channel, Gold Rush has helped Zee Telugu to claim the fourth place in the particular time band, behind Gemini TV, ETV and Teja TV. Claims a Zee Telugu channel executive, "The strategy to fight competition's primetime soaps with a one hour gameshow has proved successful."
According to the Tam data provided for week 48, Zee Telugu has recorded a share of 1.24 per cent for weekdays (CS4+ Andhra Pradesh total, 6 am to 11:59 pm) while for weekends it is 1.86 per cent. Quoting the Tam data, the channel claims that its programme GRPs have touched the 50 mark in week 49.
Apart from Gold Rush, the other shows that the channel has been banking on include the primetime news based programme Crime File, primetime soap Nishabdam, the weekend afternoon model photography show Photo Show, the weekday afternoon cookery show Mee Inti Vanda, the early morning religious slot, the lifestyle and fashion show Showcase on weekdays' evening time band and the Sunday primetime film property High Voltage Cinema where dubbed Hindi and English movies are shown.
Friday prime time telefilms band from January
Speaking about the channel's 2006 plans, spokesperson Jyoti Gosala states, "We are planning a lot of things for the coming year. To begin with, we are launching the Friday telefilm band Friday Releases starting January 6. Under this band, every Friday we will telecast original telefilms produced by independent filmmakers exclusively for the channel. We have roped in popular production houses such as Digi Films, Dream Visuals, Houseful Entertainer and Devi Art Productions for this."
Another property that is presently in the production stage is a music-based show Zee Sound Party. Independent orchestra groups are being invited to perform on the channel. Zee Telugu is yet to finalise the slot for Zee Sound Party, according to Gosala.
Gosala feels that, Zee Telugu's recent efforts to promote its shows such as Gold Rush and Nishabdam have helped to create a buzz about the channel in the market. The primetime serial Nishabdam was promoted by sending direct mailers to households, informing them about the launch of the soap. The channel is now planning to increase the reach of Gold Rush with various audience reach programmes.
"We are looking at expanding the programme by reaching out key towns in the state. The idea is to improve the visibility of the programme and capitalise on the interactivity factor. Our team will be visiting households to select contestants from all the important towns," explains Gosala.