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Zee rolls out Zindagi with ambitious ‘Jodey Dilo Ko’ philosophy

The new channel initially starts with airing content from Pakistan, but will slowly move to shows from Latin America, Greece, Turkey and Bangladesh. BestMediaInfo asks industry leaders if it will work

Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | June 30, 2014


The image which automatically flashes in our minds of ‘India and Pakistan’ is of deep-seated hatred, anger against each other, the existence of a huge wall, and of two nations which are always at loggerheads. What we often fail to realise is that there is actually no such animosity and the wall which we all keep talking about is only created by us, a product of our imagination. Zee TV, in an attempt to connect hearts or ‘Jodey Dilo Ko’, has launched the channel ‘Zindagi’ which showcases the best content from Pakistan.

Zindagi was launched on June 23, 2014 and it has started with four daily one-hour Pakistani shows which have been acquired by the network. It is for the first time that an Indian TV channel will allow its viewers a peek into the lives of their neighbouring country. The channel will follow the content mix for the initial few months, whereby it will primarily concentrate on fiction, mini-series, long-series and telefilms. Reality show and movies will follow, once the channel has managed to create an ‘emotional connect’ with its viewers.

Shailja Kejriwal Shailja Kejriwal

Shailja Kejriwal, Chief Creative, Special Projects, ZEEL, said, “As a creative person you always want to do something new and provide your viewers with something fresh. The first thought that came to my mind when I asked myself whom do we have the most cultural affinity with, and it had to be Pakistan without a doubt. It was then that I visited the country, saw their content, met their directors, and was amazed to find such a fresh pool of talent.”

“I found that the people of Pakistan are so well versed with our cultures, songs, Bollywood, actors and in fact even with our streets, but it is not the other way round. We hardly know anything about Pakistani films and serials because we don’t get to see them here. The idea germinated in my head after seeing the serial ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hain’. That is when I decided that I will have to work a way out to show all this brilliant content to people in my country,” added Kejriwal.

The primetime of the channel is from 8 PM to 11:30 PM and people in the age bracket of 15 to 45 years constitute the target audience. A unique aspect of these serials is that they are not made just for the viewership of female audiences, like in India. The female and male viewership ratio for these serials would be 60:40 because, in Pakistan, almost the entire family is back home by 7 PM and thus both men and women watch serials together.

Marketing strategy

Akash Chawla Akash Chawla

Akash Chawla, Head, Marketing, National Channels, ZEEL, said, “Initially we start with airing content from Pakistan, but will slowly move to shows from Latin America, Greece, Turkey and Bangladesh. When Shailja brought these wonderful shows from Pakistan, we tested them across 10 cities through AC Nielsen and the response was fantastic. Through Zee, we aim to provide our viewers with ‘Kuch Naya’ in the form of great content with limited episodes.”

Commenting on the marketing strategy, Chawla said, “We have been doing very aggressive marketing for Zindagi. Our digital promotion started on May 5 and, in fact, I can say that this is perhaps one of the biggest digital campaigns Zee has ever done. On television, the entire Zee network has been pushing the new channel in a big way. The outdoor advertising has been handled by FCB Ulka, and you can see the airport screens and the railway station hoardings being occupied by Zindagi. Advertising alone cannot help us achieve want we want from Zindagi; a lot of media support is needed to spread the unique and innovative effort which we have undertaken.”

Will it work? We ask the media honchos

Ashish Bhasin Ashish Bhasin

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, said, “The success of any channel depends on how great the content is and to maintain this consistency throughout is the challenge. Zindagi aims to enter a very niche area which has not been occupied earlier. I feel the initial response to the channel will be good, but whether it will continue to be so in the long run is to be seen.”

Anita Nayyar Anita Nayyar

Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media Group, India & South Asia, commented, “Zee Network has always been a pioneer in launching new content and they do it again with the launch of Zindagi. The content – soaps, telefilms, mini-series, fiction plans – is sticky and Pakistani artistes are great storytellers. The short format focus with never seen before originals would create opportunities for a diverse audience to be driven to the shows. Kiron Kher as the ‘sutradhar’ brings a lot of credibility to the channel and touches a chord, especially amongst women audiences. The content should cater both to the youth and the mature audience.”

Himanka Das Himanka Das

Himanka Das, Senior Vice-president, Carat Media Services, pointed out, “There is no right time or wrong time for a channel launch. Uniqueness and refreshing content always pulls audiences. Marketing with interesting content is a win-win for the broadcaster as well as the audience; however, viewership will be a testimony to its audience acceptability. Let viewers decide the fate of the channel as we are given to understand that the launch of the channel is backed by strong audience research.”

Sundeep Nagpal Sundeep Nagpal

A somewhat different view came from Sundeep Nagpal, Founder & Director, Stratagem Media. He said, “Basically, with all due respect to Zee, I don’t see how Zindagi or any other GEC with a somewhat differentiated content is going to change the viewer’s life. It will always get a small threshold share of viewership if it survives for more than 10-12 months. According to me, in terms of viewership, I don’t think the channel will do well. But it may still help the Zee Network in the consolidation of its distribution and advertising revenue share.”

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