Zee Bangla's Samrat Ghosh on economy slowdown, NTO & consumption trends in Bangla market

Approx. 20 per cent of total ad revenue on the channel is from local advertisers

MUMBAI: Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s regional channel Zee Bangla recently completed 20 years of its journey in the Bangla market. The mantra of consumer-centricity has kept the channel in the leading position in the market. Going farther in its journey, the channel wants to be known as a brand which is relevant, relatable and embedded into Bengali values and culture. While speaking to, ZEEL cluster business head- East Samrat Ghosh spoke on the journey of channel, evolution of content in the Bangla market, consumption trends, impact of economy slowdown and advertisement on the channel.

He believes that the Bangla TV industry is on a growth path. In the last 20 years, the original hour of content offering has increased by almost 2.5X – 3X. In terms of growth and advertisement on the channel, Ghosh informed that post NTO the subscription revenue has over delivered and there has also been a healthy growth in its top line.

Approximately 20 per cent of the overall ad revenue on the channel is from local advertisers and the number is expected to increase during the festival season. “There is a purchase cycle which happens during festival season and Durga puja being one of them, we see local advertisers advertising more to get the reach. We are hoping to surpass last year numbers even after the challenging scenario of economy slow down in the market. In our case, we are expecting a healthier growth and better than last year’s number.”

Ghosh also said that the television is the less impacted medium in the current economy slowdown scenario and Zee Bangla doesn’t see any impact on its ad revenue. Explaining further he said, “It all depends on how you reach out to your consumers. For example, sectors like FMCG, automobiles, consumer durables etc., always requires a platform to reach out to the target audience. Television being the highest penetrated medium in the country, the impact of economy slowdown on television is not that huge compared to the other medium. In Bengal, we are the highest penetrated platform in the market and therefore the dependability of the advertisers on Zee Bangla is quite high.”

Explaining how the channel will work on viewership, he said, “There are some factors which will attribute for bringing back the reach- one is the brand pull and second is how aggressively we are marketing the product to the consumer. It’s an ongoing journey. Mostly the migration that I have seen in the market post-NTO is around 87 to 88 per cent, so there is a gap of ten to twelve per cent of migration which is yet to happen.”

Compared to overall TV penetration in the country, Bengal is lower than the national average. TV penetration in all India is 66 per cent and in West Bengal it is 60 per cent. “One out of three TV audience of West Bengal is from AB Segment (AB:CDE – 33:67) and this ratio is way behind national ratio (47:53), especially in the rural market (23:77), opined Ghosh.

“In other markets, a lot of content is telecast in the morning and afternoon bands and some of them also offer original content in the afternoon. But in Bangla market, primarily with regards to the GECs, there is no offering of original content in the afternoon. Mostly the focus is towards primetime,” said Ghosh.

Viewers in Bangla market watch 19 hours of TV content in a week. They consume only 53 per cent Bengali content, mostly Bengali GEC content (43 per cent) followed by Hindi movies (16 per cent). 63 per cent of Bengali viewership consumption happens in primetime (16:30 – 24:00). In the morning their preference is news, movies in the noon and GEC in the evening. Most of these viewers (52 per cent) are of 30 years+ and they contribute 57 per cent of time spent.

For the industry to grow, Ghosh said that there is a need for new actors and writers. “Currently, this seems to be a challenge. However, since last year Zee Bangla has initiated a project under the name ‘Yes Bangla’ to find and nurture new sets of actors and writers. Another challenge is staying relevant to audiences in an environment of growing digital traction. Next challenge is that the total reach of the market is yet to come back vis-a-vis pre-NTO regime.”

“Through our programmes and campaigns, we have encouraged our viewers to move ahead and chase their goals by unshackling their inner fears and in the journey taking the entire family together. The reflection of the same will be captured in all our future shows as well.  To celebrate these unique 20 years, Zee Bangla is also launching an in-house annualised magazine ‘Sonar Songshar’,” said Ghosh.

Zee Bangla was launched in September 1999 earlier in the name of Alpha Bangla and over the last 20 years, the channel has offered various fictions, non-fiction shows and premiere blockbuster movies. In 2018, it had refreshed its brand philosophy to ‘Notun Chhonde Likhbo Jibon’ which means ‘Let’s orchestrate life in a new rhythm’.

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