MUMBAI: Zee News Media Corp (ZMCL) continues to expand its presence in the regional news space. As part of its new format of Terrestrial Entertainment Network (TEN), the television news group has launched Odia language Zee Kalinga to tap viewers in the state of Orissa.
Zee Kalinga replaces Telugu language Zee 24 Gantalu which discontinued its operations in November 2013 as Zee News found the Andhra Pradesh market to be a highly competitive market. In January this year, ZMCL decided to move into Odisha with Zee Kalinga. The channel has been in preparation since six months and all it had to do was to apply to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for converting its news licence from one channel to another. The approval from the MIB came through in January this year.
ZMCL has hired around 100 employees for the Odia channel, with Amitava Bhattacharya as EVP, Satya Prakash Nayak as Resident Editor, Arjya Patnaik as Programming Head and Aryabhatta Dash as Marketing Manager. In the TEN format, the programming is equally divided between news and non-news shows.
News will have several bulletins, chat shows and factual entertainment capsules, while non-news will have four fiction shows and two reality shows. “The key differentiator in the content strategy of the channel is to cut across audiences and serve them varied types of content on a platter. Zee Kalinga, through its unforgettable and powerful content, will bring to life a unique philosophy of ‘all in one’ entertainment,” says Bhattacharya.
News is being created in-house while non-news shows have been outsourced to production houses. Half-an-hour bulletins will be spread across the day, while one hour news discussion will be telecast during prime time for five days a week. Special bulletins are also planned on sports, business and other special stories.
Some of the non-news shows are Asha Ra Akash produced by Urmi Communications, Katha Ta Etiki by Shri Ganesh Telefilms, Abhinetri by Vidisha Kraft, Mo Jejemaa by Herald, Maa Raan Micha Kahuni by Asian Shopping Club and Mr. and Miss Kalinga by Prelude Novel Ventures. Three dubbed non-news shows are also to be aired - Bikram Betaal, Ramayana and Buddha.
Zee Kalinga will have its main office at Bhubaneshwar and bureaus in Sambalpore, Behrampore and Balasore. It will cater to cable and satellite homes with people above four years of age falling under socio-economic classification of A, B and C.
A marketing campaign, created by Sanket Communications, has been undertaken to proclaim the tagline ‘Mu Odia, Mo Odisha’. Print ads will begin tomorow in newspapers Samay, Samvad and Samaj while outdoor advertising is planned in Bhubaneshwar and other TAM towns. Sources say the marketing spend is to the tune of Rs 1 crore. BTL activities began last week while radio and outdoor began today. About 37 spots have been bought for outdoor hoardings.
Advertisers are still being sought, some of them being from the retail, education, real estate and government sectors. The channel plans to have just 20 per cent advertisers from Bhubhaneshwar while the rest will be spread from across the country. It is looking to tap into a robust Rs 100 crore advertising market (news and regional entertainment put together).
The channel will be available free-to-air till March after which it will be coverted into a pay TV channel. “We are covered on Ortel, Variety, Manthan and most other local LCOs. On DTH, we are live on Dish TV and Airtel Digital. This will give us 90 per cent plus reach in overall Orissa and 95 per cent in digital,” says Bhattacharya.
As far as the name of the channel is concerned he adds, “Kalinga is its old name so we just felt like keeping it.”