Flee the kitchen!

Anusha Subramanian        Print Edition: November 15, 2009

Zee Entertainment’s COO Nitin Vaidya
Zee Entertainment’s COO Nitin Vaidya

Cut! Kitchen politics or Saans Bahu stuff doesn’t sell in a recession! That was what Zee Entertainment Enterprises figured when its advertising revenues started plunging in the third quarter of 2008-09.

Ad revenues are the backbone of a television broadcaster and Zee began revamping programming. Zee TV widened the prime time band from 7 p.m. to 11p.m, (against the earlier 8-10 p.m.), and rebuilt it, introducing shows like Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya hi Kijo (March 16, 2009) and Aap ki Antara (June 1, 2009).

Zee Entertainment in BT 500
Rank ‘09: 75Avg. Market Cap (Rs cr)*: 7,647
Rank ‘08: 66Market Cap (Rs cr)*: 9,353
*April-Sept

While ad revenues are yet to surge, Zee has steadied the net profit.

In the first half of 2008-09, ad revenues had grown by 30 per cent over the same period of the previous year. The recession took away that growth. And rivals like Viacom 18’s Colors channel began grabbing eyeballs.

Zee had to spend madly to fight the competition, but the new shows have helped it close the gap with the top two rivals Colors and STAR Plus.

Nitin Vaidya, COO, Zee Entertainment, says: “In Week 34, we had 284 GRPs and were growing consistently... our strength is in content… Zee is not dependent on any one programme.”

The company has been...
Gaining market share
Pruning costs

Zee has also streamlined its operations, reduced expenses across the spectrum. It’s now links payouts to content providers to ratings, and produces its own shows whenever it can. Subscription revenues are up.

Vaidya says: “We are happy to have emerged a clear genre leader based on our programming strength alone and not on airing movies or running content without commercial breaks. We are creating GRPs and not buying them.”

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