The channel will air two-and-a-half hours of fiction programming and five light humorous shows as it goes live from August 22
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | August 5, 2016
The Hindi entertainment segment on television has seen the emergence of youth-centric channels for more than a decade now. Channels such as MTV, which was music-focused, changed its strategy to target youngsters. Channel V did the same thing, until recently when it decided to focus on music.
While there have been channels catering to the youth, there has never been a youth general entertainment channel. Channels like MTV and Channel V still continue to show music and hence are still classified as general entertainment channels.
Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL), pioneers in the Indian broadcast industry, is set to bring the first-ever general entertainment channel for the youth with the launch of Zee Yuva. The channel, which will have light humorous content, is set to be launched on August 22. At a recent launch event, BestMediaInfo caught up with Bavesh Janavlekar, Business Head, Zee Talkies and Zee Yuva and Sharada Sunder, Executive Vice President, Cluster Head, Regional Channels to know more.
Introducing us to the latest entrant in the general entertainment space, Janavlekar said, “We are trying to be different from what is being currently offered. What is currently offered is strongly fused with families and marriages and so on. We believe that there is a lot of space before marriage, so content-wise we will focus more on those lines. Treatment-wise we intend to be light-hearted than to traumatise and over amplify things. We are trying to be realistic to contemporary life.”
With the launch, Zee Yuva will have two-and-a-half hours of original content programming. The channel has five light humoured shows to give the audience a rib-tickling experience. ‘Freshers’ is a show that revolves around the masti (fun) of college-goers. ‘ShravanBal Rockstar’ is about an aspirational rock star.
‘Bun Maska’ looks to be the channel’s flagship programme. It is the screenplay of a girl’s roller-coaster emotion from the eyes of a fun-loving girl with a confused philosophy of love. Love Lagan Locha’s story revolves around boys trying to find their perfect match and likewise. Itech Taka Tamboo shows the journey of a man from a superficial global world to a ‘beautiful locale,’ as he tries running a beachside hotel in a small town in Maharashtra.
Janavlekar said apart from these five shows, ‘Yuvagiri’ will be an hour-long programme where the Zee Yuva team will travel to different parts of Maharashtra and speak to the youth in colleges and elsewhere. The programme intends to find, engage and grow with the views of Maharashtra’s youth. The show will be aired at 5:30 pm.
Janavlekar says there will be a half-hour repeat programme from 6:30 pm to 7 pm. For now, the channel will not have any exclusive or dedicated weekend programming. It intends to have binge sessions to begin with.
Sometime in mid-September, it will make an attempt to show Hollywood movies dubbed in Marathi. Popular Marathi movies will also be shown. “I am confident about the channel’s proposition and the content and it will certainly be more engaging to a huge chunk of the audience,” he says.
Over the last five years, viewership was shrinking primarily because of youngsters losing interest. The channel realised that the young audience were exposed a lot to Marathi films. Most of the movies in Marathi were youth-driven and the channel wanted that audience to come to television.
Sunder says there is definitely a need gap and this is why they launched Zee Yuva.
Janavlekar is confident Yuva will be among the top three channels once it establishes itself. While there has been a good response from clients, Janavlekar did not share details about the deals.
Apart from Zee Marathi, the network has other channels in the regional space like Zee Tamil, Zee Bangla, Zee Kannada and Zee Telugu among others. Giving a sense on whether the network intends to expand the youth general entertainment channel format to other regional channels, Sunder, who is also the Cluster Head for regional channels at ZEEL, said, “There are no plans of expansion for the time being. For now, the focus is on Zee Yuva.”
On the marketing front, the channel will have a 360-degree communication, largely on digital (where the youth spends most of its time) as well as on within the network, on radio, outdoor and print. It plans a huge print campaign on the day of the launch formed a communications strategy spread across weeks.