Television

Zee puts up tough competition in Marathi space with 'Yuva'

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MUMBAI: A few weeks back, Viacom18 launched another general entertainment channel Colors Super to expand its reach in Karnataka market. Soon after, one of the leading media conglomerates, Zee Enterprises Entertainment LTD (ZEEL) announced new channel launch in Marathi space with Zee Yuva. Zee Networks’ Zee Yuva will be the new entrant in the Marathi space to encash the network’s upper hand in being a pioneer in the region.

The new channel will offer some light hearted refreshing content, which the channel claims is different from what the other players in the Marathi space currently offer. ZEEL’s regional language offerings within India are performing extremely well.

“We are able to leverage content strengths across the network by replicating successful formats. Our understanding of audiences is reflected in our leadership and improving network performance,” reads ZEEL annual reports 2015-16.

According the report, Zee Marathi maintains dominant leadership in Marathi general entertainment space with 50 per cent market share. The channel was once again the slot leader in all the nine prime time slots led by top rated fiction shows like Jai Malhar, Nanda Saukyabhare, Ratris Khel Chale and non-fiction shows such as Chala Hawa Yeun Dya and Home Minister.

In Maharashtra, 54.8 per cent is rural population whereas 45 per cent is urban population, as per Maharashtra Economic Survey. Zee Talkies and Zee Yuva business head Bavesh Janavlekar says, “In Maharashtra, 17 per cent of population is Marathi viewing audience, which means there is big chunk of the audience is consuming Marathi content. Hence, we thought there is scope to further explore the space with Zee Yuva.”

Zee Yuva will be the network’s fourth presentation in the Marathi genre. It already operates GEC Zee Marathi, movie channel Zee Talkies and news channel Zee 24 Taas.

The channel will be a paid and is scheduled to go on air from 22 August. With no particular restriction to TG, the channel will cater to all the age groups of Maharashtra. “It is not a youth centric channel; it is more about youthfulness, more about the value of forever young at heart. Therefore we didn’t put an age to it.”

While leading channels in the category like Zee Marathi, Colors Marathi and Star Pravah mostly target female audience in the state, off-late Marathi films aimed at the young people have also quite done well. ZEEL sees an opportunity in this. “We feel that there is huge opportunity to explore and grab the Marathi audiences, who are young at heart. We will target the heartland of Maharashtra,” claimed Janavlekar. He added, “Yuva is not about age. It’s about a mindset. So our content will be light with storylines revolving around friendship.”

With the launch of Zee Yuva, ZEEL is not only focusing on the Maharashtra but also planning to tap in the global Marathi audience through its digital platform Ditto TV.

Zee Yuva’s differentiated proposition is strengthened by its content that is distinctive and based on audience insights, which the international audience will relate to. “I feel that this new and innovative step will definitely win the hearts of the audience of Maharashtra. The audiences of Maharashtra have showered immense love on Zee Marathi, Zee Talkies and Zee Studios and I believe that the audiences will welcome the new channel Zee Yuva with the same love and warmth.”

The channel will start off with five fiction shows of different genres like college and romance. It would have a weekend show as well. There will be music in the morning and movies in the afternoon band. “We will have shows around music in the future. The primetime here will be 7 pm to 9.30 pm. We will have movie premieres every day, informed Janavlekar. The channel will also premiere Hollywood movies dubbed in Marathi.

Zee Yuva revealed the first look of its first show Love, Lagan and Locha. The channel has roped in production houses like Iris Production and I me Production for the content.

When it comes to attracting advertisers, he informed that it doesn’t matter if the brand is based in Delhi, Bangalore or Bombay as long as Maharashtra is the priority market for them, as the channel is positive to gain the confidence of audiences residing in the interiors of Maharashtra.

Fortunately there are many channels selling youthfulness to people. “We are focusing on maximizing the viewership on television and digitally and we know that brands will be on board therefore we are not too much worried about the brands. Primarily focus will be on building the viewership through differentiated content strategy.”

The channel’s digital campaigns were received well and had a reach of 5 million in a day. It also trended on Twitter and recorded 28.6 million impressions in a day. Apart from this the channel has more than 50,000 likes on Facebook.

Zee Yuva has also rolled out a music video composed by Jashraj Joshi, Hishikesh Datar, Saurabh Bhalerao, sung by Jashraj Joshi and Soniya Mundhe.

“We will be rolling out network promotions and non-network promotions followed by print and outdoor campaigns,”Janavlekar added in parting.

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