Television

Zee Sports can break even in 18 months time: channel head

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NEW DELHI: Zee Sports, the youngest of the sports channel beaming into Indian cable homes, could breakeven within 12 to 18 months time, according to a senior channel executive.

“These are early days, but the channel can possibly breakeven in 12 to 18 months time as its revenues increase. Especially now that cricket will be aired,” Zee Sports business head Himanshu Mody told Indiantelevision.com today.

Part of the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms, Zee Sports believes it has struck gold after bagging the telecast rights of one-day cricket that India will play against Pakistan, Australia, England and West Indies over the next five years on neutral venues.

Zee has invested approximately Rs 300 million in its sports channel started over a year back.

Zee Telefilms bagged the telecast rights for approximately $ 219 million, beating the likes of ESPN Star Sports, Sahara One Media & Entertainment and Nimbus.

According to Mody, a cricket property like this is definitely going to drive up the subscription revenues and could be leveraged in different ways on various platforms over the five year contract period till 2011.

“In the months to come by, Zee Sports will be a power to reckon with,” Mody said with glee after this victory, having failed twice earlier to bag big ticket cricket properties, which included the domestic Indian rights for four years that was snared by Nimbus for $ 612 million.

Asked whether the investments could be recovered as there’s an overdose of cricket all round on television, Mody said the present rights for 25 one-day matches were different from other rights and had its advantages.

“What we have bagged is one-day cricket, which has more value (in terms of viewership) than five-day Test cricket. Moreover, India-Pakistan clashes mostly go down very well with viewers and advertisers alike,” Mody explained.

Zee Sports is also keen to share the terrestrial telecast with the Indian pubcaster Doordarshan and doesn’t think such simulcast would hit its revenues --- advertising or subscription.

“We are keen to share cricket with DD and will offer the best deal possible,” Mody said.

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