Language Expansion Strong Move By Zee, Punjabi GEC A Critical Asset In Long Term

The bet on regional channels continues for television networks as regional markets and GECs (General Entertainment Channels) are considered as growth drivers in the entertainment category.

This is why Zee Entertainment last week announced the launch of four new regional channels which includes a Punjabi GEC, considered as the first GEC in Punjabi language.

But this comes at a time when viewership saw a downtrend this year due to economic slowdown and the New Tariff Order (NTO) coming into effect.

For 2019, it is expected that the growth drivers would be sports and news. Plus, entertainment segment’s contribution could be around one percent to the overall growth in the television space.

The bet on regional channels continues for television networks as regional markets and GECs (General Entertainment Channels) are considered as growth drivers in the entertainment category.

This is why Zee Entertainment last week announced the launch of four new regional channels which includes a Punjabi GEC, considered as the first GEC in Punjabi language.

But this comes at a time when viewership saw a downtrend this year due to economic slowdown and the New Tariff Order (NTO) coming into effect.

For 2019, it is expected that the growth drivers would be sports and news. Plus, entertainment segment’s contribution could be around one percent to the overall growth in the television space.

Hence, the bet on Punjabi GEC also looks like a good move.

“Punjabi is a potent language for a platform and not only for the native Indian Punjabi speaking audience, but also for the diaspora that is spread across the world and is keen to pay for Indian content. In all probability, this will help with monetization and lead to the creation of monetizable and leverageable content diversity which will be a critical asset in the long term,” said Sinha.

Also, when it comes to advertising on GEC channels, three languages including Hindi, Tamil and Kannada corner 49 percent of total ad volumes, with Hindi GEC accounting for the single largest share, according to BARC India report titled ‘What India Watched 2018’.

“When distribution is multi-platform and content differentiation is key to creating a brand identity, focusing on regional languages becomes important. However, the key differentiation will be the quality of the content. We are moving away from the lowest-common-denominator content format of typical soaps of the ‘saas-bahu’ variant. Audience today whether for regional languages or Hindi or English, demand high quality content with great production values,” said Sinha.

Last year, content trends on regional language channels saw a shift from kitchen politics and family dramas to more contemporary and urban topics.

This is why Sinha thinks that if “Zee is able to back the regional diversification through a strong content backbone; this play should be very useful.”―Money Control

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