Television

'We are open to a foreign equity partner for the English channels' : Laxmi Narain Goel - Zee News Ltd MD

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2015/12/07/Laxmi%20Narain%20Goel.jpg?itok=fXum2UoF

 Zee News Ltd (ZNL) plans to invest Rs 5 billion in a slew of channels over two years, expanding its presence in regional markets and new segments.

Immediately on the agenda is the launch of a Tamil general entertainment and a Telugu news channel. Plans are also afoot to launch an English business and a global news channel.

The company is also bringing to its bouquet mix a clutch of regional movie channels. It will soon apply for a Bengali movie channel while Zee Talkies is being transferred from sister company Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

In an interview with Sibabrata Das, Zee News Ltd managing director Laxmi Narain Goel chalks out the company's growth roadmap.

Excerpts:

When Zee News Ltd was spun into a separate entity a few years back, it was making a loss due to the Telugu channel. How did things turn around?

The losses from the new businesses have substantially reduced. Zee Telugu, in fact, should break even in the third quarter of this fiscal and Zee Kannada in the subsequent quarter. Our turnover has also gone up from Rs 2 billion to Rs 3.58 billion (standalone) for the fiscal ended 31 March 2008, with Zee Marathi and Zee Bangla seeing exponential growth in the last one year.

Is the company still taking a cautious approach and waiting for some recent channels to break even before launching new ones?

We are launching a Tamil general entertainment channel (GEC) with an investment plan of Rs 900 million in September as the Telugu and Kannada channels are close to earning profits. The Telugu news channel will launch in October while the Malayalam GEC should make its appearance in the next fiscal.

ZNL is also planning to launch an English business and a global news channel. Do you see this the right stage for the company to leap into such high-cost investments?

We plan to invest Rs 5 billion by FY'10 which will include the launch of several channels. Our intention is to have a complete presence in all the segments.

The company is on a high growth curve and expects to clock Rs 3.55 billion in advertising revenues for FY'09, a 25 per cent jump over the prior year. Subscription revenues are expected to grow even faster, soaring to Rs 1.19 billion (from Rs 667.5 million in FY'08). The Telugu and Kannada channels have started generating pay revenues from the last quarter of FY'08 and would only add to this growth.

Will you be inducting a foreign equity partner for the English channels?

We are open to bringing in an equity partner. But all will depend on what proposals we receive from whom and what model is on offer.

ZNL so far has been a mix of news channels and regional language GECs. Will we also see regional movie channels forming the bouquet?

We will soon be applying to the information and broadcasting ministry for clearance to operate a Bengali movie channel. We are also transferring Marathi movie channel Zee Talkies from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) to Zee News Ltd. The broad plan is to bring regional movie channels under the company. This will give us a unique mix and add to the growth of the company.

'We plan to invest Rs 5 billion. Our intention is to have a complete presence in all the segments'

Zee News has also started a franchising model to enter into new markets. Will you restrict this to smaller markets where it doesn't make commercial sense for you to enter directly?

The first such channel will roll out in Chattisgarh with SB Multimedia as our local partner. We will be leveraging our brand while the local partner will make the investments. We hope to strike such deals with other players in these smaller markets. Once we have a cluster of such channels, we can sell as a package to advertisers and command better rates. Significant revenues can then flow in from the franchising model. It can turn out to be a successful business model.

What made Zee change the positioning of its flagship Hindi news channel?

We have relaunched as a serious news channel and see it as a differentiator in a segment that is witnessing lots of competition. We have decided not to go the tabloid or sensationalism way. This is not the first time that we are changing our positioning. But our motto continues to be the same: We will show what interests the masses and is in the interests of the nation.

When you dramatised the 'Gudiya' story, was this to do more with ratings than anything else?

We saw the story as having a genuine mass interest among our audiences. It was a national interest story.

Isn't it time for the Hindi business news channel to get a makeover?

We will be relaunching Zee Business and making it more market-oriented. But we will not just be a stock market channel; we will address all kinds of markets and segments.

Do you see the surge in personnel and distribution costs upsetting the profitability of the TV news business?

There is a lot of new manpower and talent available in the market today. The supply can only increase. I believe that manpower costs as a share to revenues will not go up, but indeed fall.

As far as distribution expense is concerned, the industry will take 3-4 years to settle down. But with DTH (direct-to-home), HITS (Headend-In-The-Sky) and new platforms emerging, we could see carriage costs peaking once the digital systems take off in a big way.

Zee is continuing to bleed in the Gujarat market. Are there plans to address this by launching a Gujarati news channel to support the GEC?

Zee Gujarati is making a small loss. The local viewers watch a lot of Hindi entertainment content. But we have no plans to launch a Gujarati news channel.

Why is the ZNL scrip lowly priced in the market?

Zee News Ltd is a terribly undervalued stock. It is a profitable company in the news business, has leading regional GECs, and will continue to post strong subscription growth. The market should adequately react to this.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/rishi.jpg?itok=90oICcfs
Exclusive political debate with Chief Minister creates huge media buzz at Lokmat Maharashtrian of the Year Awards 2018

Mumbai: Lokmat, Maharashtra’s and Pune’s Number 1 newspaper, hosted the 5th edition of its highest platform of recognition - ‘UPL presents Lokmat Maharashtrian of the year Awards 2018 powered by Money Trade Coin Group. This initiative by Lokmat honored the most exceptional work done by individuals...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/9XO.jpg?itok=JHJv1vFF
9XO celebrates 6th Anniversary with 9XO Super 6

MUMBAI: 9XO the international music channel by 9X Media celebrates the 6th glorious year with new and innovative shows specially curated for their viewers. Starting April 23rd 2018 the anniversary celebrations will continue till April 27th 2018. With Instagram being the language of the millennial’...

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/Untitled-2.jpg?itok=fgSvDNc4
Mayavi Maling: A never-seen-before fantasy world on Indian television

Mumbai: The spectacular promo of the VFX extravaganza, Mayavi Maling, has sparked great curiosity amongst the audience and garnered immense appreciation. The grandeur of the show promises to capture everyone’s imagination and transport the audience to a fantasy world. Its compelling storyline...

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/jonty.jpg?itok=2WisYca8
Watch, Play & Win a chance to watch your favourite sports stars LIVE with 'MNX Super League' daily at 11 pm

Mumbai: The captivating sporting spirit of the cricket season is garnering eyeballs amongst viewers in India. ‘MNX Super League’ weeknights at 11 PM on MNX brings the best of sports and films with an aim to up the entertainment quotient.  Offering its viewers their favourite movies, MNX, the new...

Television TV Channels Movie Channels
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/CNN-News18.jpg?itok=fCTdtbLf
CNN-News18 and News18 India bring Special Programming for Karnataka Election

New Delhi, 19th April, 2018: Termed as the big battle between the BJP and the Congress ahead of the General Election in 2019, the upcoming Assembly Election in Karnataka are witnessing high-decibel campaigns from both the parties. As the southern state prepares for the Elections, CNN-News18 and...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/pp.jpg?itok=JSh0dBzs
CNBC Awaaz Goes Big With Market Hours

National: CNBC Awaaz, India’s leading Hindi business news channel, today revamped its market hours by roping in an impressive line-up of expertise in stock markets analysis. The Channel will take a deep dive to decode the stock markets and their implications on the economy on Weekdays from 7 am to...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/news.jpg?itok=aEdZrvlZ
Hindi news channels continue strong run in 2018

BENGALURU:The combined total viewership of the top-five Hindi news channels shows that it has a huge audience when compared to the combined total viewership of the top-five news channels of each of the four South Indian languages individually. However, when audiences of the top-five news channels...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/23/ipl-18.jpg?itok=64wPnXK6
No reason for GECs to panic as IPL grabs eyeballs

MUMBAI: It is that time of the year when general entertainment channels (GECs), across languages, face the jitters over viewership numbers with the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning its customary summer stint. Moreover, as the league begins a new innings with Star Sports, the host broadcaster...

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/04/21/marc.jpg?itok=ZcwZDK53
The art of storytelling hasn't ever changed: Oggy creator Marc du Pontavice

MUMBAI: Since its launch, Oggy and the Cockroaches has generated fan after fan in various parts of the world. Furthermore, the slapstick French animated series has found a sweet spot in Indian kids.

Television TV Channels Kids

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories