Locally nuanced shows help to bring in relevance from an Indian context: ZEEL’s Kartik Mahadev

Zee Café has recently launched its first-ever original production Dance With Me

MUMBAI: Hollywood has always enjoyed a passionate fanbase in India which only grows by leaps and bounds with each passing year. Today, Hollywood movies aren’t just for the English-speaking audiences living in metros as we see movie enthusiasts in Bharat and India with the same level of passion and connectedness as the global fan following. The &flix study, ‘Hollywood is for everyone,’ explores how Hollywood enjoys a universal appeal in India, and gives an insight into the lifestyles and mindsets of movie buffs. 

ZEEL premium channels business head Kartik Mahadev said that the research has helped the channel to curate its offerings like &flix’s fastest to television premieres, which reduce the theatre-to-TV wait time by half, along with the multi-language block ‘Flix for all’.

The study also disclosed that Hollywood’s entertainment quotient fares better than Bollywood / regional? Does this mean brands indulge more in premium content?

Mahadev highlighted that Hollywood viewers are brand conscious and in-sync with the latest trends. They seek new experiences and crave adventure. Said he: “For these consumers seeking a badge-value with something aspirational, Hollywood forms the ultimate getaway. With its sophisticated visual effects, unique concepts and aspirational characters, today Hollywood’s fandom in India cuts across languages and cultures and is not just limited to the English-speaking consumers in the metros.”

The &flix study also revealed that 80 per cent Hollywood enthusiasts admitted that brands placed in the movies / intermittent TV ads influence their purchases. Mahadev revealed that for its customers, English content on television provides youth-focused brands and premium brands the opportunity to associate with a premium subscriber base.

“Recently, for the premiere of Jumanji: The Next Level on &flix and a simulcast in Hindi on Zee Cinema, we successfully reached a wider audience by providing access through language. Some of the most reputable brands came on board as partner for the property on &flix such as Kia Motors, Ariel, Amazon, Airtel 4G, Xiaomi, Protinex and ITC, along with Bingo Potato chips, Hyundai Creta, Behrouz Biryani, Bharat Matrimony and Cinthol onboard for the Hindi simulcast. The premiere garnered an overwhelming response, taking it to the next level with a whopping 34 million reach, making it one of the biggest premieres in the last 12 months,” he shared.

Since its launch two years ago, &flix has challenged the English movie genre codes in addressing fan experience on television. According to Mahadev, ‘Ticket to Hollywood’ broadens access to Hollywood movies across the country, bringing movies closer to fans while creating value for brands who want to engage with the ardent audience across regions. The pan-network property will see Hollywood’s latest and top-rated movies dubbed in regional languages premiere across Zee channels like &PrivéHD, Zee Café, &Pictures, Zee Thirai, Zee Cinemalu, Zee Punjabi, Zee Biskope, Zee Talkies, Zee Picchar, Zee Sarthak and Zee Bangla Cinema. In addition, the channel’s flagship property ‘Flix superheroes’ featuring the latest superhero hits will begin airing in November.

For the launch of ‘Ticket to Hollywood’ the channel has adopted a robust 360-degree campaign approach across platforms like DTH, digital, TV and trade. The network has leveraged social media to drive communication around the premiere of Bloodshot in the essence of the languages across markets. High-impact promo films across Zee movie channels further brought the biggest festive offering on television alive.

Mahadev added, "We have Colgate onboard as the presenting sponsor for the premiere of Bloodshot across 11 of our ZEE channels. Moreover, with the premiere across Zee English cluster we are thrilled to deliver value to not just our discerning viewers but also our customers and are pleased to have brands like Venky’s Purotein, HUL (Lifeboy), KIA, TVS, Amazon, Sprite and Kelvinator onboard for the premiere.

English GECs have always faced the ‘acquired’ versus ‘original local content’ dichotomy. It is believed that English GEC channels can earn higher ad revenue from their original programs. But the question arises why the channels have not yet experimented with local content.

Mahadev opined that original programming with locally nuanced shows does help bring in relevance from an Indian context. While marquee international shows bring the best of the world to its viewers, locally produced content allows the broadcasters to add a new dimension from the Indian point of view. Said he: “Being the pioneers when it comes to original programming with India’s first-ever English fiction show Bombay Talking, Zee Café brought in relevance with content that is locally nuanced for the Indian viewer. What followed was the introduction of successful properties such as Look Who’s Talking with Niranjan, Not Just Supper Stars and Starry Nights that truly added a unique flavour to Zee Café’s wide repertoire of content.”

He pointed to Zee Café's recently launched first-ever original production Dance With Me featuring celebrity dance experts Shakti Mohan and Mukti Mohan. The show adds to the merriment of the festive season coupled with a unique and interactive format via exciting weekly hook step challenges. The series is co-powered by Loreal Paris extraordinary oil serum &, cosmetic partner Dazzler Eterna with special partners Yamaha Fascino 125 Fi and Only Natural Diamonds.

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