Television

Zingaat is the Las Vegas of Marathi entertainment, says Vikas Varma

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After creating 9XM,  Hummra M, Music F Fatafati, Bflix Movies,  Dicky "Speak" Pvt Ltd CEO Vikas Varma has launched his own Marathi music TV channel Zingaat. Apart from Varma,  Ramesh Jassani, Shirish Ruparel and  Narayan Sharma own shares in the company.  “All four of us bring tremendous television, advertising and media experience to the table making this a formidable combination of content, distribution, advertising, sales and marketing. The four musketeers, together, are the life force of Zingaat,” said Verma.

In conversation with Indiantelevision.com's Parvinder Sandhu, Vikas Varma shares his plans and insights into his channel. Excerpts:

Where did you see space for a new Marathi music channel? Weren't there a plenty already?

A space or a vacuum need not exist for a product that is giving the viewers an entirely refreshing and new entertainment experience. Zingaat, as the name proclaims, is such a viewing experience, totally in tune with today’s Marathi viewer. Marathi movies and music, unjustly so, have for too long lived under the shadow of Bollywood. However, that has changed dramatically in the last few years. Marathi movies and music claimed and achieved its rightful top position and it was important to create a TV channel that reflects and celebrates just that. Thus, Zingaat.

Zingaat looks a little like what 9XM Hindi Music channel used to look when it was #1. Your comments on that.

9XM was created by me in 2007, which immediately became #1 in its second week of launch. But, that was in 2007, which I refer to as ‘Version-1’. After this, I created the Bhojpuri Music Channel, Hummra-M, which too became #1 and then Music-F Fatafati, the Bangla Music Channel, with similar results. Those were ‘Version-2 & 3’.

Zingaat is a fantastically upgraded and entertaining music channel, where I have used the accumulated experience of last 10 years, since I created 9XM, Hummra-M and Music-F Fatafati. Zingaat is as different from 9XM as iPhone-1 is different from iPhone-7. That, Zingaat is the only TV channel celebrating the new face, success and pride of Maharashtra, makes it even more exciting and fulfilling for me.

Shall we say Zingaat could have been inspired by ideas such as Sony Rox' that primarily focuses on huge mainly-Hindi music popular in the sub-continent and among the diaspora across the globe?

The only inspiration that Zingaat had and continues to seek, is the joy and celebration of music. It is the Zingaat way of life. Our viewers experience this and participate in this joyfulness, eagerly and happily.

What has been your research in this context? What is your target group?

Youthfulness, music and joy has the infinite power to attract humans of all ages and demographics. Zingaat is this sparkling, joyful TV Channel that personifies these qualities. These qualities are highlighted by our Channel Super Heroes called, Ussal, Missal and Maddy. They sing, dance, play pranks, recite poems and represent the free spirit of Zingaat and all our viewers. One does not need research to tell us that almost everyone loves candy. However, under the hood of our brand Zingaat, lies the result of some serious content selection, which has been mood-mapped to perfection.

Our Super Heroes, Ussal, Missal and Maddy have been inspired by the colours of the rainbow and sound of falling rain, however the technology used to create them are cutting edge 3-D animation tools.

Which genres of music do you plan to have? Have any reality shows been planned too?

Zingaat is the Las Vegas of Marathi entertainment. Only the best acts come here. So, the display window showcases only Hit-Pe-Super-hit. Expect only the best of best on Zingaat. Yes, a few shows are in the pipeline, and we are very excited to be showcasing these products for the first time and in this manner to our viewers.

What are the marketing plans for Zingaat?

We have an extensive marketing plan in progress right now. This includes over 500 billboards all over Maharashtra as well as radio and TV spots. Our focus is also the interiors of Maharashtra where we will be taking road-shows and high-energy ground activation. That apart, we are organising contests for our viewers, with high-value premium gifts. And, not to forget movie halls and cinemas, where Zingaat will spread its joy and fun.

How are the viewers responding to Zingaat. How is the feedback?

The response has been phenomenal and in my experience, and unprecedented. Zingaat has a “Selfie’ showcase for our viewers on its TV screen which runs constantly 24X7. We have been getting thousands of beautiful selfies from our viewers non-stop. We are delighted to show-off our viewers happy faces on our channel. This is the age of the smart phone and Zingaat complements that as a ‘smart channel’.

Excited viewers result in super excited advertisers who have been meeting us and want to be a part of our mission to heighten viewer experience. So, a lot of Zingaat razzle-dazzle is spreading its magic all around. All I can say is, the party has just begun, wear your fanciest clothes and jump in!

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