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Business News/ Companies / News/  Zee Entertainment aims for dominance in prime-time Telugu TV viewership market
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Zee Entertainment aims for dominance in prime-time Telugu TV viewership market

The company, which decided to tell more positive, women-centric stories post covid, operates 14 channels across the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam regions, and commands a 17% market share in the south currently

Trinayani, a supernatural fiction television series on Zee Telugu, has been adapted from the eponymous Bengali language television series, which had been aired on Zee Bangla.Premium
Trinayani, a supernatural fiction television series on Zee Telugu, has been adapted from the eponymous Bengali language television series, which had been aired on Zee Bangla.

New Delhi: Media and entertainment company Zee Entertainment Enterprises aims to corner a dominant position in prime-time television viewership in the Telugu market, as the overall southern territory emerges as its fastest-growing cluster within the television business, a senior company executive said. The company, which decided to tell more positive, women-centric stories post covid, operates 14 channels across the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam regions, and commands a 17% market share in the south currently.

“Southern markets like their content, be it movies or television. The average time spent per user is highest in the south and our effort, since our entry 18 years ago, has been to understand where the viewer is moving and juxtapose that into our content," Siju Prabhakaran, chief cluster officer - Zee South, said in an interview. While the digital infrastructure improves and the region continues to see high penetration of mobile phones and the Internet, television will remain the first call of entertainment, the company believes.

He added that the top two players in the Telugu TV market command over 80% of prime-time viewership which is good news for advertisers.

Also, retail, e-commerce and banking categories are emerging across the south, which also has the unique advantage of several local brands. “Television provides reach at the right cost, and is here to stay. Business may not grow like it did 10-15 years ago, but the pace will remain steady," he said.

To be sure, concrete themes are emerging in the south Indian TV market, said Anuradha Gudur, chief content officer, Zee Telugu and Zee Keralam. In Telugu market, for instance, more males have entered the fold of TV viewing post covid and overall, there is demand for positive stories and stronger female characters. Prime-time viewership for Zee Telugu has grown by 38% in year to October 2023.

Two shows—Trinayani, about a woman who can predict the future, and Prema Entha Madhuram, which revolves around the love story of a middle-aged businessman and a young woman—have clocked in 10+ television rating points.

Zee Telugu, which ranks second in the market, commands a 33% share, while Zee Tamil has registered a 20% market share, despite the presence of legacy players like Sun TV. Zee Keralam, launched in 2018, has reached the number two position, while Zee Kannada ranks one in the market.

Prabhakaran also pointed to the advantages of cross-pollination that a network like Zee enjoys. For example, Trinayani, a supernatural fiction television series on Zee Telugu, has been adapted from the eponymous Bengali language television series, which had been aired on Zee Bangla.

The growth of digital media has also spelled good news for networks such as Zee that have benefited from streaming of catch-up television content online.

“Digital provides viewers with convenience, and is growing. The second television set phenomenon has been replaced by OTT, and we see a lot of consumption taking place on connected TV sets," Prabhakaran said, adding that while the company has brought out web originals in Tamil and Telugu, these are early days for the southern OTT market that is waiting to explode in the coming years.

Sony Pictures Networks India Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) are facing hurdles in finalising their proposed merger due to a deadlock over leadership arrangements for the $10-bn merged entity, reports said.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lata Jha
Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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Published: 10 Dec 2023, 10:20 PM IST
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