Zee Sports adds special features to enhance cricket viewing experience

MUMBAI: After quite a wait Zee Sports has finally got some serious cricket. It is currently telecasting the Abu Dhabi series between India and Pakistan. The channel is pulling out all the stops to make sure that the viewer experience is complete.

Speaking on this, Zee Sports marketing VP Gaurav Seth says, "TWI is doing the production for us. Our aim is to ensure that the viewer gets a complete experience. There have been reports about how too many ads on other channels (read Sahara) are spoiling the cricket experience. We wanted to avoid that at all costs. Therefore, our senior management got together to work out a way by which the breaks were sequenced so that not a single moment on the field is missed.

"One new technical feature we introduced was the ball meter. This graphic on the top right hand corner of the screen tracks the movement and pace of the ball from the time it leaves the bowlers hand. So, you will see it slowing down and then picking up pace again."

Zee Sports also has the usual Hawkeye and other features. As Seth says, "We wanted to put our best foot forward. One way to do this is putting together an expert panel of commentators on our pre and post special Cricket Cafe. We have among others Navjot Siddhu, Ajay Jadeja, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan."

The channel is using Kapil Dev in an innovative way through the segment Kapil's Corner. Here, the former Indian captain who helped India win the World Cup in 1983, talks from different venues like a golf course, swimming pool on how the game has changed over the years and how he views it today.

The channel has also roped in Bollywood actress Tara Sharma who sends postcards. She visits different parts of the city to give the viewer at home a flavour of what it offers. Face Off is an irreverent, funny section featuring former cricketers Arun Lal and Rameez Raja. While Lal talks about why he thinks Pakistan will win, Raja talks about India's chances.

Another segment in the first match saw Band Of Boys singer Verghese who is a VJ for the broadcaster talking to television stars, film actors about how cricket compares to Bollywood and to television serials. The question was whether an India-Pakistan match is bigger than a Saas-bahu serial and a major blockbuster featuring the likes of Amitabh Bachchan. The consensus was that India-Pakistan was bigger.

The question remains as to whether fatigue will happen since India and Pakistan are playing each other with greater frequency. To this, Seth points out that a fan is always a fan. While there might be some fatigue, an India-Pakistan match will always have good viewership as it generates passion. "The attitude is that it is more painful for India to lose to Pakistan than it is to lose the World Cup final. So you can imagine the level of interest when these two teams meet."

In terms of advertising, Seth says that both Pepsi and Coke are on board. "We also roped in Motorola, BSNL, DLF among others. We were initially apprehensive about co-marketing the event with DD. But, the result has been very good and DD brought its experience of marketing cricket for the past several years to the table.

"In addition to being careful about the number of spots aired we also made sure that our pop ups were non intrusive. Often on other channels ads pop up in such a way that it blocks the view and thus compromise the experience. We had pop ups that came and disappeared quickly. They were also relatively smaller compared to what one can see elsewhere."

On the distribution front, Seth concedes that carriage fees have been paid to some operators. "However one objective of cricket is to show the cable fraternity that we are in the game for the long term. We are not just looking to make a quick buck. Our aim is to reach 60 to 70 per cent of cable & satellite homes by the end of the month.

"We are aware that it is difficult for a sports channel to be present if there is no cricket on account of bandwith shortage. However, our aim for the next 12 months is to achieve a 60 to 70 per cent penetration level, regardless of whether we have cricket or not. I would say that we have already achieved that level of penetration. in the East and North where football is followed.

"Also, it will not take more than two to three years for tennis and football to act as some sort of a driver for sports channels. I do not think that hockey can be a driver. If you go to any school you will see kids playing football in addition to cricket.

"The elite play tennis. Indians, I think, have some degree of difficulty relating to hockey. Football, of course, is the most global sport played by 182 countries compared to cricket where only 10 countries participate and hockey which has around 10 participating countries. If the Indian national football team can improve its performance, the sport will go places," says Seth.

Latest Reads
Star Bharat experiments with early morning slot

Star Bharat is all set to experiment with weekend morning slot by launching a three-hour programming band from 5 August.

Television TV Channels GECs
National Geographic’s new show to tell success stories of India’s icons

National Geographic will be coming up with a unique show called Mega Icons which will see the success stories of inspiring personalities of India from different platforms.

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Viacom signs deal with for small screen content

Kids’ entertainment platform has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Viacom. Under their agreement.

Television TV Channels Kids
STAR Maa announces call for entries for a brand new reality show PelliChoopulu

In continuation to give its viewers a unique and entertaining show, Star Maa the most viewed Telugu entertainment channel has announced the call for entry for its upcoming reality show PelliChoopulu.

Television TV Channels Regional
Zee Telugu announces auditions for all new season of its legendary dance reality show, Aata Juniors

Aata Juniors, one of Zee Telugu’s most sought-after reality shows is soon making a comeback to the channel and is looking for the final contestants via auditions.

Television TV Channels Regional
Sony Max pushes its way to most watched Hindi channel across genres

Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) Hindi movies channel Sony Max was ranked second in Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) weekly list of top 10 channels across genres (across genres list) for week 28 of 2018 (Saturday, 7 July 2018 to Friday, 13 July 2018, week or period under review...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Dangal TV prepares to scale up ambition with new play

When it comes to general entertainment channels (GECs), hitting the sweet spot isn’t all that easy.

Television TV Channels GECs
Comcast drops bid for 21st Century Fox assets, cedes prize to Disney

The fierce bidding war between Comcast and Disney has finally ended with the former dropping out of the race to gobble up the prized 21st Century Fox assets. Comcast will now shift its focus towards sealing the Sky deal.

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
ZEEL elevates Manish Aggarwal as business head of Zee5 India

In a recent development, Manish Aggarwal has been elevated as business head of Zee5 India, the OTT platform of Zee Entertainment Enterprise (ZEEL).

Television TV Channels People

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories