Television

Zee Cinemalu's rural focus and Telugu movie popularity

The channel has seen stronger growth in the urban market since its launch

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MUMBAI: Zee Cinemalu, the Telugu movie channel from the Zee stable, launched in 2016 has made massive strides in viewership in one of the most cluttered regional markets of India. It has moved from 107 GRPs in FY17 to 244 GRPs in FY20 in the urban market, according to data shared by the channel. The channel has a strong presence in Hyderabad as it moved from fourth position to first while the GRPs moved from 103 in FY17 to 335 in FY20 (as on week 34 in 2019) posting 225 per cent growth. After urban, the channel is planning to strengthen its footprint in the rural market of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The channel moved from 90 GRPs in FY17 to 222 GRPs in FY20 (as on week 34 2019) in the total market which is 146 per cent growth. It also moved from fourth to second place in the total market while the share moved from around 15 per cent in FY17 to 28 per cent in FY20 (as on week 34 2019).

Zee Telugu & Zee Cinemalu business head Anuradha Gudur said, “AP/Telangana is a highly competitive market; however Zee Cinemalu is in a formidable position within three years of its launch. Consistent number one is still a long way to go.  In fact, we are in process of capturing the rural market as well to strengthen our current position.”

She said, “Zee Cinemalu has become the fastest-growing movie channel in AP/Telangana. We positioned the channel to be young and aspirational, we already had existing content which airs on the channel (Zee Telugu) but we were able to reach out to the audience with added flavour of movies with Zee Cinemalu.”

The channel also broadcasts world television premieres of Telugu movies. Kumari 21F was the first WTP movie which was premiered on the channel. Besides blockbusters and super hits, it has also premiered small budget movies like Idhi Maa Prema Katha starring anchor Ravi and TV actress Meghana Lokesh that delivered big numbers.

“We were the first to introduce movie premiere on the channels in this market. We reached out to a young audience. Our tag line says ‘Hits that connects to your heart’ and it does not necessarily have to be a blockbuster movie. There are movies that are not box office hits but still, the audience likes to watch them and that was our take to offer them,” said Gudur.

The company procures Telugu movie for both the channels- Zee Telugu, the GEC, and Zee Cinemalu. Currently, Zee Telugu has 600 exclusive movies which are aired on Zee Cinemalu as well. Zee Cinemalu has four to five movie premieres happening in a year.  

Gudur said that in the AP/Telangana market, movies as a genre contributes 35-36 per cent to total TV viewership and on an average more than 260 movies (excluding cable channels) get exposed to viewers week-on-week which shows the appetite for movies in this market.  “And in fact, producers are planning to release Telugu movies pan India in theatres,” she added.

She further added, “As long as we add freshness to the channels, movie channels have life for the next 5 years at least and in fact, nostalgia works here as movie channels broadcast movies from the 1960s to 2019. Movies are always for “Family Viewing” than “Individual viewing” as we have predominantly single TV households.”

Gudur said that the most challenging time was during the world cup when the channel had 11 movies lined-up, but yet the channel clocked the highest number at that time when everybody assumed that people are not going to see anything except cricket. “But the time spent on our channel grew significantly because we aired 11 movies back to back. That was the most unusual thing on the channel,” she said.

In this market, Gudur informed that the 12 pm and 3 pm timeslots perform well and it also has Friday bank where it premieres and provides back to back movies on that day. “Friday has been a hit bank for us,” she commented.

The consumption trend in the South is a bit different from the rest of the markets. Unlike other markets, the consumption starts at 6 am in the morning. 50 per cent of the consumption is movies, especially in the Telugu market.

The channel has also seen a rise in its revenue from subscription post NTO. “We have revenue from subscription coming in significantly because of TRAI changes and it is the most-watched channel in Telangana. Other than that we have advertising revenue which adds to top line,” said Gudur.  

“There are issues like channel duplication, landing page issues and the issue will always exist for most of the channels. What has been fantastic is that growth has been steady and this year has been exponential for the channel.  The advertisers are very excited with the kind of growth the channel has shown this year. From the last financial year we have got very good responses from the advertisers,” concluded Gudur.

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