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Digitisation will pave the way for specialist channels

With Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata going totally digital from November 1, broadcasters see a lot of merit in launching subscription-based specialist channels. These could be niche channels dedicated to cooking, gardening, health, education and so forth.

Anusha Subramanian | October 16, 2012 | Updated 18:23 IST

Anusha Subramanian
Anusha Subramanian
With Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata going totally digital from November 1, broadcasters see a lot of merit in launching subscription based specialist channels . These could be niche channels dedicated to cooking, gardening, health, education and so forth.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) is doing precisely that with the launch of its new 'edutainment' channel ZeeQ. Zee Q aims to address educational need gaps using engaging content. The 24-hour channel that will go on air of November 5 is targeted at the four to 14 age group and will be available on leading DTH and digital cable platforms as a paid-for channel.  

Channels for children account for just 6.3 per cent of the overall channel share across India. But the 'edutainment' genre is not quite the same a children's channel. The segment it is directed at has never been targeted by broadcasters and  ZEEL sees a first mover advantage.  

With an increased number of channels in a digitized environment, and with greater consumer choice, broadcasters will be pushed to deliver differentiated, high quality programming. ZeeQ intends to produce edutainment shows that will be engaging and relevant to Indian children, thereby bringing in the experience of its education division Zee Learn. Shows on ZeeQ will include 'Teenovation'  -- a show in association with The National Innovation Foundation about Children innovators who display brilliance and create utility items to overcome problems they see around them, 'Wordmatch'  --  a National level game show for children, conducted in Hindi, which seeks to enhance their knowledge of English spelling, word usage, sentence construction and vocabulary, and Brain Cafe   -- the perfect hang out to learn about scientific theories and their applications in a fun way.

Currently, the children's channel genre reportedly delivers a total of over 500 gross rating points (GRPs) every week in comparison with the industry average of 200 GRPs for all genres put together as per KPMG's media report, Digital Dawn:The Metamorphosis begins. Despite the fact that the ad market for kids genre is currently estimated to be only around Rs 250 crore, children's role as purchase influencers has attracted many advertisers to now look at kids channels to advertise. Finally, it will be content that will determine the success of specialist channels.  

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