Mumbai: Subhash Chandra-controlled Zee network has launched a ₹ 100 crore-plus rebranding exercise, wherein it will now sport a bright aqua blue logo and come with a new tag line—Umeed se saje zindagi.
Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, said the image makeover was inspired on extensive feedback that showed viewers preferred a channel that was more youthful in its outlook. “Our last rebranding exercise was done in 2005 and was launched in London at the Zee Cine Awards where the tag line was Jiyo Zee Bharke, and since then our belief is that television has evolved significantly and is at a stage where we’re now reaching almost 130 million cable and satellite homes."
The project has been carried out by Draft FCB Ulka Advertising Pvt. Ltd. It will reflect across 27 of Zee’s channels, barring the sports channels that come under the Ten Sports brand. The network is beamed to at least 500 million viewers across 120 countries.
The project, undertaken over the last 11 months, entailed extensive market research to obtain feedback from over 1.4 million people across the world on the new positioning of the network. Zee also plans to launch four high-definition channels by 15 August, a new portal called India.com and a new golf channel under the Ten Sports brand.
“The research was conducted not just in India but also in our markets overseas and most wanted younger stories from us. On the brand front, they felt that we needed to make it more contemporary. In design terms, to free the ‘Z’ from the box. To our mind it made sense, as it was almost of a metaphor for signifying that the sky is the limit," said Goenka.
Zee’s new logo is an aqua blue Z, with an upward flourish and a stylish font and has been designed by the Zee team in-house.
Its new ad film, made by Draft FCB Ulka, shows a girl child as the main protagonist and her will to succeed. The film is directed by ad film-maker Ram Madhvani and the music is composed by Rajat Dholakia, a national award-winning music director.
As a part of the makeover, the channel will bring in two new fiction shows—Shobha Somnath Ki and Mrs Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuein—and one non-fiction show—India Ke Jaanbaaz, and introduce a new reality template around real heroes.
“If you value the airtime that we will use on our network, it will be ₹ 100 crore. If you were to look at the spends ratio, it would be 80% on the Zee network and 20% on others. The creative aspect of it, the branding exercise, brand film, logo, market research has already cost us $2 million," Goenka said.
K.S. Chakravarthy, the national creative director of Draft FCB Ulka, said the campaign was a long-drawn process, but the direction was always clear. He said the channel had always been less dependent on film stars, preferring to make stars out of real people, which it did through shows such as Sa Re Ga Ma or Dance India Dance. “It was this thread of hope, this belief that life can be whatever you make of it, that we wanted to capture in simple, evocative terms," he said.
The network will also step up its digital focus, with Goenka adding that they have their whole team working on adapting content for every possible screen such as the mobile phone or tablets. “We have built a portal called India.com which we will roll out next month. We believe that people will pay for premium content online, so while they may not want to pay for a GEC (general entertainment channel), they may be more then willing to pay for an India-South Africa (cricket) series. Also, on 15 August, four high definition channels will also be launched—Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zee Studio and Ten Sports. We are also awaiting regulatory permissions for a new golf channel which will launch under the Ten Sports brand," said Goenka.
As per the Ficci-KPMG 2011 report, television has seen a tremendous increase in the net direct-to-home subscriber base aggregating 28 million at the end of 2010. The television industry grew from ₹ 21,100 crore in revenue in 2007 to ₹ 29,700 crore in 2010. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16% to touch ₹ 63,000 crore by 2015. Media buyers claim the general entertainment space is estimated to be in the region of ₹ 4,000 crore and growing in double digits.
A rival broadcaster, who did not want to be named, said that change was long overdue for Zee.
“Indian viewers are changing on a daily basis, because of technology, increase in personal disposable income, etc. Most GECs will have to refresh their brand persona every two to three years in order to keep up," he said.
Last year, Star India also did a makeover, where a new logo was created by UK-based design firm venturethree, and was used by News Corp. to rejuvenate some of its other TV platforms globally.
Satyajit Sen, chief executive officer of Zenith Optimedia Pvt Ltd, said that makeovers are exciting business. “It evokes curiosity among viewers. That said, makeovers can only do so much. The content also needs to step up to the changing times—the new woman that Zee is trying to address."
Sen added that in the case of Star, it seems to have worked with the channel coming to top spot in general entertainment, post the recast.
“The big story would be how the channel (Zee) performs after a year or so, post the makeover," he said, adding that lots of channels have recast themselves in the past withoutcausing much of a sizzle in GEC.