Two new shows mark Zee Telugu's fifteenth anniversary

Despite lockdown, the GEC launched Queen and Amrutham

MUMBAI: Zee Telugu, the Telugu general entertainment channel from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), is celebrating 15 years of its launch. Launched on 18 May 2005, Zee Telugu was the first entrant from the Zee bouquet to enter south India. Zee Telugu offers a variety of shows that cater to the entertainment needs of over 75 million Telugu audiences across India. From fiction shows to reality shows and talk shows, the channel has multi-genre offerings.

It has been an extraordinary journey for the channel thus far, says Zee Telugu and Zee Cinemalu business head Anuradha Gudur, in an interview with Today, the channel commands a 24.7 per cent of the Telugu GEC share.

The Covid2019 pandemic affected Zee Telugu like all other entertainment channels. “This has been by far the most challenging year for the channel and probably so for most other channels. To stay connected to the audience, we’re offering curated content to the audience. We have launched fresh content during the fifteenth anniversary. The first one is Queen, directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon. It features a lot of Telugu stalwarts like Ramya, Tulasi, and a few other well-known names in the Telugu industry like Sonia Aggarwal,” she said.

Queen is an Inspiring story of a young actress who goes on to become the youngest chief minister of Tamil Nadu, and Amrutham is an iconic comic classic.

The second launch, said Anuradha, is the iconic comic classic Amrutham. “Amrutham like honey doesn’t go old with age and has stood the test of time and so we have brought it back this time when people need reasons to laugh. So we thought it appropriate to entertain the audience. Both are iconic and will engage and entertain the audience and are best suited for this lockdown period.”

And how has the channel been coping with the lockdown? “As the production has completely been stalled we have been exploring how to connect to the audience. First of all, there has been a shift in audience preference. There is an increase in male viewers and children who are consuming content. So we showed a good combination of movies that appeal to the audience. Movies contribution across channels has moved up from 32 per cent to almost 50 per cent. As I mentioned earlier, we are looking at fresh content. We have launched Queen and Amrutham in prime time from 18 May. We also have anchor Ravi hosting a new show called Lockdown talks.”

She expressed hope that in June the channel should be able to resume the serials.

The GEC has seen prominent brands advertising for its new shows. “For Queen at 8 pm we have P&G and the title is sponsored by Cinthol, and co-presented by Meera Shampoo and Sunflower detergent. Amrutham at 8:30 is co-powered by Head & Shoulders,” she said.

The channel has been marketing the shows on its network channels.  “We are promoting on Zee Telugu, Zee Cinemalu and on news channels, in addition to aggressive campaigns across all social media platforms. Through PR campaigns we have planned interviews with Gautam Menon and Ramya Krishna for print, online and radio,” she said.  

Zee Telugu has marked another milestone with the completion of 10 years of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa with successful 12 seasons. Anuradha said that Sa Re Ga Ma Pa as a brand has a huge connect across all regions, especially in Telugu-speaking states. “We have been a launching pad for many singers such as Revanth, Damini, Shanmuga, Priya Sahithi, Anudeep, Sai Charan, etc.”

Over the years, Zee Telugu’s reality shows have created a unique platform to nurture the talent.  “The audience has a strong association with reality shows, be it shows like ‘Gold Rush’ or ‘Gadasari Atha - Sogasari Kodalu’, ‘Koncham Touch Lo Unte Cheptha’, etc. Through all these years, we have formed a connection with the audience for being a platform for a lot of young talents, be it singing, dancing or acting. In the initial years of the channel, we were often called the Aata channel. Now we also have a lot of child stars being featured in many films,” she said.

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