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Zeel launches Anmol; to be available on TV, mobile and WAP

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 NEW DELHI: Zee network has launched Zee Anmol, a free-to-air channel, taking the number of Zee channels to 34. The new entrant will be available on both mobile phones and on WAP zeeanmol.tv from 1 September.

Denying the charges of it being a channel of repeats on lines of Star Utsav, ZEEL chief creative and content officer Bharat Kumar Ranga in a press meet here said that not only will the channel reach those areas which were hitherto covered only by DD and DTH DD Direct Plus, but also be re-packaged to suit the audiences in smaller towns and semi-urban and rural areas.

He said a series may even be cut from the original number of episodes to lesser episodes if research showed people did not want it to be too long.

He said that this marked the first phase of the channel, which may have new programming in the second phase expected sometime next year.

Ranga told indiantelevision.com later that Zee was presently spending around fifty per cent of its normal marketing budget for other channels for this particular channel. Asked to be more specific, he said around 15 per cent of the revenue from Zee Anmol will go into its marketing. But he admitted that this was going to be tough going since the aim was to reach unreached areas and even those where there was no television. He said he was prepared to advertise the channel on all platforms, including Doordarshan if the pubcaster accepted this.

Four persons who have excelled in different programmes on Zee TV - Kratika Sengar who played Jhansi ki Rani, Sayantani Ghosh who was Naagin, Binny Sharma who won hearts in Dance India Dance, and Jasraj Joshi who won the SA RE GA MA PA 2012 were present at the press meet.

ZEEL marketing head Akash Chawla said the new channel was more of a video brand than a television brand, and the expectation was to reach places where cable and satellite TV had just begun to make inroads, or where broadband was available. He said the mobile penetration had reached 100 million and was bound to catch on, particularly if the programmes are re-purposed.

Asked if the ad cap could affect the channel since it was not based on subscriptions, Ranga said even advertisers had products they wanted to reach out to small consumers.

Ranga said Zee Anmol was the only channel to have up to 39 hours repackaged programming for a week.

Head content Ajay Bhalwanker said that the research had taken many months because the network wanted to know exactly what the people in small towns wanted. Ranga added that the channel had been astonished to discover that people were aware of serials and names of characters even in places with limited TV viewing.

In the initial phase, the channel will have series like Maayka, Pavitra Rishta, Dance India Dance, India's Best Dramebaaz, Chhoti Bahu, Saat Phere, Naagin, Kasamh Se, Sindoor, Jhansi ki Rani, and Shabaash India among others.

Interestingly the press meet was attended by mediapersons from smaller cities like Ahmedabad and Jaipur who had been brought here to see a preview.

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