Cable TV

Zee plans to launch Southern channels overseas in Q1 2007

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MUMBAI: Zee Network is planning to launch its two southern language channels overseas in the first quarter of 2007-08.

There is no decision taken yet on which country Zee Telugu and Zee Kannada would launch first. "we are looking at taking these two channels to the international markets. There is a sizeable audience to be tapped," says Zee's south initiatives head Ajay Kumar.

Zee is also preparing to launch a Tamil and a Malayalam channel to cover up all the southern language states. But these are tough competitive markets, dominated by Sun TV, Asianet and Surya.

Zee's aim is to have a presence across eight regional languages of India. Already available are Zee Marathi, Zee Bangla, Zee Punjabi, Zee Gujarati, Zee Telugu and Zee Kannada. The focus will be on consolidating in these eight languages over the next five years by clubbing the language entertainment channels with regional news channels.

The regional channels form a part of Zee's demerged entity, Zee News Ltd (ZNL). Under this company also falls the news channel business.

ZNL has projected a 33 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years to touch a revenue of Rs 8.7 billion by FY 2011, up from Rs 2.01 billion in FY 2005-06. The operating margins, which stood at 16 per cent, are expected to expand to around 30 per cent during this period.

ZNL has a networth of Rs 1.7 billion. The capital employed (as of 1 April 2006) is Rs 2.31 billion with loan funds standing at Rs 612 million. The company has no major capex requirement at this stage.

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