Television

Consistency &Change in ZEEL's topline FY '15-16 growth

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MUMBAI: Consistency and change are the buzzword in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel)’s new swanky office, spread over several floors, in India’s financial capital. And these two words also are also the guiding factors for the company as it continues to spread its wings globally even while consolidating its position at home.

While company chairman and promoter of India’s first private satellite TV channel(s) Subhash Chandra feels digital is the way forward, taking a macro view, the team at ZEEL, led by Chandra’s elder son, Punit Goenka, peg away at initiatives to make the company bottomline blacker and live up to the visions of the visionary chairman.

That’s why even in the international market, the group has successfully taken ZEEL’s popular domestic content in the original as well as repurposed form to focus not just on the South Asian diaspora, but on a wider cross section of global audiences in 171 countries.

Media mogul Subhash Chandra led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) has registered the net profit for the year 2015-16 Rs 10, 267 million representing a margin of 17.5 percent.  This paper is based on Zeel’s Annual report for FY-2015- 16.

“We are a local player in the markets we enter, identifying content The lines between global and local are getting increasingly blurred. ZEEL is focused on enhancing reach and emerging as a truly world-scale player in the M&E segment,” ZEEL said in its annual report for FY 2015-16 ending March 31, 2016.

Sample some consolidated facts put out in the annual report: net profit of Rs 10, 267 million representing a margin of 17.5 percent; consolidated revenues of Rs 58,515 million representing a growth of 19.8 percent over previous year; operating profit (EBITDA) of Rs 15,095 million registering a 20.4 percent growth and resulting in a margin of 25.8 percent; Rs 34,297 million in ad revenue; Rs 20,579 million subscription revenue; 33 domestic channels and 38 international channels; Facebook fanbase of 5,10,000 plus and a 1,98,000 plus Twitter family.

“Zeel has grown steadily since inception establishing itself as a dependable brand and organisation that is efficiently managed, well-governed and forward thinking. Our performance in FY 2015-16 is a further testimony to these practices. Our growth has been ahead of the market growth trajectory, duly reflected in the growing viewership share of our network (17.9 percent),” company MD and CEO Punit Goenka said in his director’s report in the annual report.

To further strengthening the viewership share in the domestic market through a right-fit content strategy, Zee’s new Hindi GEC, &TV, built onto its successful launch and increased its popularity with the urban audience.

Noting that the new audience measurement system rolled out by BARC is a welcome change especially as rural audiences are also been counted, Chandra observes, “This (rural audience measurement) is an important reset for all players as strategies are being revisited or drawn afresh. For Zee this is a welcome step given the depth and breadth of our content offerings and the reach of our channels.”

The Zee network in India has four Hindi general entertainment channels, including Zee TV, Zee Anmol, Zindagi and &TV. While in the regional category, the brand has six channel under its umbrella and four channels under the Hindi movie cluster. The group has two channels under music genre and two in its English entertainment section even as Zee Q is categorised under special and niche genre.  

We list here some highlights of the Zee family as enumerated in the annual report.

Hindi GEC highlights

Zee’s first Hindi GEC Zee TV has ranked third amongst the HGEC in the FY 2015-16. The channel delivered a weekly average of 10 shows among top 50 shows, led by the highly- rated shows like Kumkum Bhagya, Jamai Raja, Tashan E Ishq and Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani.

The free to air channel Zee Anmol continued to maintain its number 1 position in the FTA GEC category. Shows like Jodha Akbar, Choti Bahu and Bandini were the top performing shows on the channel as per BARC rural data.

Zindagi, a channel showcasing a mix of content of various hues, including some sourced from Pakistan, introduced original productions in FY 2015-16 starting with the first non-fiction show Shukriya. The channel also introduced Turkish content with the show Feriha, aimed at attracting younger audiences.

The youngest member of the Zee family, &TV, which completed a year of operations in March 2016 continued to grow in popularity with urban audiences. It achieved 50 percent viewership growth since its launch month and 64 percent viewership growth in weekday primetime.

Regional GEC

As per the Annual Report, Zee Telugu increased its market share to become the number two channel in the Telugu GEC genre and number one channel in the urban Telugu market with 27.5 percent relative share in urban markets. The channel dominated the fiction genre with 35.4 percent relative share and the non-film viewership with 32.2 percent  relative share in urban market.

ZEEL’s other regional channel, Zee Kannada, maintained the number two ranking in the urban Kannada GEC genre during the financial year under review.

Zee Tamil’s growth is steady in the urban market with 6 percent relative share among Tamil GECs, whereas Zee Marathi maintained dominant leadership in Marathi general entertainment space with 50 percent market share.

Zee Bangla grew to a stronger number two player with a 40 percent share in urban market, while Sarthak TV   maintained its no. 1 position in the Oriya market with over 50 percent market share.

Hindi Movie Cluster

The Hindi movies cluster was the market leader in its genre where it increased its viewership share to 34 percent despite a competitive environment with a significant increase in share of Zee Action and Zee Classic.

Music Genre

ZETC gained a 14 percent increase in urban and rural viewership since the inclusion of rural markets. Relative share of ZETC increased to 6percent in the music genre.

Another music channel, Zing, witnessed a 28 percent increase in urban and rural viewership since the inclusion of rural markets in audience measurement. Relative share of Zing increased to 36 percent in the Youth GEC genre.

English GEC

Zee Café maintained its position as the most watched English GEC with a 24 percent market share. The channel boasts of an extensive library of some top US shows like House of Cards, Gotham, The Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Two and A Half Men, The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars.

Zee Studio had a packed year with Indian television premieres to woo audience. The channel has grown from a 9 percent share to a 13 percent share in FY 2015-16.

Niche & Special Interest Genre

Zee Q achieved a stable and consistent rating during a volatile period of market fluctuations. It is the default destination for all things ‘DIY’ or do-it- yourself.

Sports Channels

Ten Sports in FY 2015-16 focused on content acquisitions to increase revenue streams and expanding existing ones. Ten Sports concentrated on acquiring/ creating content that created long-term strategic value, a strong programming backbone and also strengthened production as a function.

New initiatives

In FY 2015-16, the brand created a new entertainment vertical - Zee Theatre. Zee Theatre created over 30 unique theatre productions during 2015-16 that are ready for showcasing, ZEEL said in its annual report. Of this, nearly 12 will be available as live performances while the entire catalogue will be available for screenings and broadcast. This initiative’s aim is introduce theatre to a larger audience, making it accessible to viewers at their convenience and position theatre as a viable career opportunity for talent.

Zeal for Unity is another unique endeavour that aims to bring people of India and Pakistan together by creating a cultural bridge. Launched at the historic Wagah-Atari border, Zeal for Unity brought together 12 accomplished filmmakers from India and Pakistan. Their task: to collaborate and make films that change the way citizens of the two countries think about each other.

It would be quite apt to summarise ZEEL’s journey in the words of company chairman, quoted in the annual report, Chandra as saying, “Just as consistency has been a hallmark of our journey, so has change!”

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