Zee promotes freeing of its channels on UK's Sky TV

MUMBAI: Three years after it introduced the Sky Asia pack in the UK, the British satellite operator has decided to drop it and put the Asian channels into its basic bouquet.  It was in March 2014, that  Sky had introduced the pack - consisting of Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zee Punjabi, Sony Entertainment Television, Sony MAX and B4U Movies - at a price of 15 pounds. But Britasians were slow to subscribe to the package. That was even after it was made available at five pounds to viewers, according to online news reports. The reason: content on the paid pack was available on free TV. 

So when the three year agreement with Sky and the Asian channels came up for renewal earlier this year, it decided to change the status quo and put the channels out for free in  its three packs    - original, variety and box sets. The. original pack is priced at 22 pounds and offers 270 channels; the variety sells at 25 pounds a month for 300 plus channels and the box set pack at  31 pounds a month  for 350 plus channels. The Asian  channels will be giving company to others such as Star Plus, Star Gold, Life OK, Star Utsav, and MTV Beats, which are also available at no cost.

To promote this change, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, one of the first movers into the UK with its Hindi channels, launched a two week phased  campaign starting with a teaser   - casting a shadow of suspense over the UK with  "Can you keep a ZEECRET" message. The advertising was pushed nationwide accross media,  covering key south Asian pockets. It also undertook an innovative viral announcement by Youtube comedian sensation, Pammi Aunty - who not only lets you in on the secret that Zee TV UK, Zee Cinema, Zee Punjabi are free but also tells you what to do with the saving of the ?15 monthly Sky Asia Pack fee!

Now the promotion has moved into the nexrt phase with the message: "All Zee, No Fee," Zee Entertainment Enterprises marketing head - UK and Europe Simran Sablok informed The idea: draw eyeballs to the Zee channel group including Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zing, Zee Punjabi and &TV.  

Even as the channels have gone free on Sky, Zee's channels  continue to be available on Virgin  as part of the paid Asian Mela pack.

Observers are expecting the slugfest between the Indian channels in the UK to intensify for the already shrinking advertising pound following this move.

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