Zee converts Siti into a satellite channel

MUMBAI: Zee Telefilms has converted Siti Channel from a cable into a satellite-delivered channel as it plans to expand reach by setting up affiliates across the country.


Positioned as an informative and interactive channel, it will reach the headends of cable networks through decoder boxes. The focus will be on showing local content while reducing movies on the channel.

"As a cable channel, there were issues on quality and reach. It is still a cable-oriented channel but is being delivered by satellite. We can reach out to non Siticable networks through our affiliate scheme," says Siticable senior vice president, operations, Subhas Grover.

Siticable is working out affiliate deals with cable networks willing to take the channel for offering to their subscribers. "We have the ambitious target of building up 2000 affiliates across the country within two months. The affiliates will have to pay a nominal fee to us," says Grover.



Local programming will be uplinked from Essel Shyam teleport at Noida and beamed from the satellite to the various headends. "The content is being organised with interactive programmes. We feel this will be attractive for other cable networks. We are now showing two movies which we plan to reduce to one a day. We were earlier screening three movies daily," says Grover.

Siti Channel will not be able to telecast movies where Zee holds only cable rights. Zee has rights to a huge number of movies which it used to telecast in its cable channel.

So how will Zee utilise its cable movie rights? The individual headends will have access to these movies, says Grover. Rival multi system operators (MSOs) IndusInd Media & Communications and Hathway Cable & Datacom run cable movie channels CVO and CCC respectively.

Siti Channel had closed down operations in certain cities like Mumbai but was running in other places like Delhi. By taking it satellite, Zee hopes to not only rejuvenate the channel but also spread the influence of Siticable in other cable networks across the country.


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