Television

"Indian TV programmes have widespread reach and appeal": Zee TV's global head syndication Sunita Uchil

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For the worldwide television industry, Paris-based Reed Midem‘s MipCom and MipTV are akin to what the Festival de Cannes is for global cinema. Both MipTV and Mipcom attract more than 11,000 participants. Each sees the coming together of the world‘s brightest television, animation, format, and audiovisual content creators, buyers and sellers. An estimated one billion euro in transactions - in terms of sales and acquisition of TV shows, formats, feature film and documentary - is estimated to emanate from MipTV which is held in April and MipCom (held in October every year).

While China, south Korea, Russia and Latin America have been growing by leaps and bounds in terms of programme syndication worldwide and their presence in Cannes‘ Palais des Festivals, India has been moving at a steady pace. At this year‘s MipTV close to 100 participants from India made their presence felt. Some exhibited, some came as buyers to pick up shows and formats, some did co-production deals and some came as sellers to hawk their TV shows and feature films. Viacom18, DQ Entertainment, Shemaroo, Eros, Verria, Maximus Multimedia, were among the big-name players who exhibited. But there were scores of others who came in as participants and bought and sold TV programmes, formats, films, and documentaries.

The most prominent of the Indian exhibitors has been Zee TV. With an impressive location and display, the company has been a regular exhibitor at Mipcom and MipTV for the most part of this decade; and has been reaping the fruits of its continued participation in terms of growing syndication sales and building its brand globally.

Indiantelevision.com spoke to Zee TV‘s global head syndication Sunita Uchil to know more about Indian programme syndication worldwide, India‘s presence at Mip, and the benefits that accrue to her company courtesy its Mip outings.

Excerpts:

Has demand for Indian content picked up? And what kind of content is attracting maximum attention?

There definitely is an increasing demand for Indian ‘entertainment‘ content, especially genres such as family dramas, romance and non-fiction. Our syndication strategy (under the Zee Bollyworld umbrella) for the new show launches (Badalte Rishton Ki Dastaan, India‘s Best Dramebaaz, and now more recently DID Supermoms), has been developed keeping in mind the rapidly evolving industry where viewers can access content directly.

How large is the Indian TV programme and film syndication market internationally? Can you give an estimate on its size? Is this growing and in which markets?

I cannot comment on the film bit as of now, but Indian TV programs have a widespread reach and appeal. Currently it could be anywhere between US$25-$30mn. Yes, this figure is growing continuously. The recognition that Indian content receives at international markets such as MipTV and MipCom only shows that the demand is increasing globally. Content aggregators and distributors (Americas, Europe) have realised that their audiences are excited to understand more about Indian culture, cuisines, lifestyles etc; and will turn to other platforms like PPV, VOD to access this; with a shift from traditional viewing.

Can Indian and international co-productions work? Which area - TV, cinema or animation?

Definitely and in all three forms, Indian technology and skill are on a par with the western markets. We have seen the successful collaborations in the past few years. Growing trends like social media are bringing the world closer. Consumers are getting influenced and watching whatever their friends are watching rather than what the broadcasting networks are promoting.

Zee Bollyworld itself is offering better customised services like dubbing and subtitling in foreign languages (in order to deliver a superior product) that truly makes it a one-stop shop for Indian entertainment the world over.

MipTV & Mipcom India rep & indiantelevision.com‘s CEO Anil Wanvari alongside Zee TV‘s global syndication head Sunita Uchil

How large was your delegation to MipTV this year? 

We had representation from Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East region this year. Our teams are located in all these regions as well as in the USA now. Our strategy for gaining market intelligence has considerably improved. This has benefited in having a direct resource in the market with better client interaction taking place.

'We are noticing a shift from consumption patterns- from traditional, DTH platforms to VOD, PPV mediums. The increasing importance of social media in influencing consumer tastes and the exposure of international lifestyles is creating a shift towards foreign content with the idea being to ‘try out new things'

What was your objective from MipTV this year? How did you position yourself differently? Did you introduce any new products or offerings? How was the receptivity to it?

Zee is the first to create a separate brand umbrella for trading and syndication. In 2012, we had mandated Mumbai based creative agency Young which had created the distinct Zee Bollyworld identity and this concept was well received within trade circles and has been a discernible differentiator for Zee at international content markets. At MipTV 2013, our objective was to leverage and build on this differentiator and to reinforce our positioning - ‘one stop shop for Indian entertainment content‘. We showcased our most successful properties and highlighted our dubbed content to clients.

Any new ideas of trends you picked up this year from MipTV?

We are noticing a shift from consumption patterns- from traditional, DTH platforms to VOD, PPV mediums. The increasing importance of social media in influencing consumer tastes and the exposure of international lifestyles is creating a shift towards foreign content with the idea being to ‘try out new things.'

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