The UK Asian TV market has been in a rather volatile state, owing to falling audience numbers, shrinking advertising pie and increased competition from the digital space.
ZEE Network is one broadcaster, which has been under constant pressure due to the mediocre performance of flagship service, ZEE TV in UK ratings. Despite, reigning in India, ZEE Network channels in the UK, which include ZEE TV, ZEE Cinema, Zing, &TV and Living Foodz, have faced an uphill challenge in ratings.
Lately, ZEE Network has been downsizing its UK operations with staff redundancy packages and moving its head office to a smaller set-up in London. The broadcaster has also reportedly slashed its spot rate to lure new advertisers.
The latest speculation doing the rounds in the UK market has been about ZEE closing its linear services. The move is said to be similar to that of Star TV USA, where it shutdown its linear channels, in the hope of migrating viewers to digital platform, Hotstar. In the UK, industry sources say that ZEE will be shutting down its linear channels, moving the entire network exclusively to ZEE Network’s digital platform, ZEE5.
The speculation fuelled further over the weekend after ZEE Group’s stocks in India plunged on Friday upon hearing a news report claiming that the SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) was probing a company for deposits of over Rs. 3,000 crore made just after demonetisation that was announced on 8th November 2016.
The media industry had been abuzz today with news that ZEE would be shutting down its linear service in the UK and luring viewers to its ZEE5 platform, with an introductory offer of just £4.99 per month. However, a ZEE UK source denied the news to BizAsiaLive.com. Another source said that it was “PR activity for investors.”
Whatever the way forward, ZEE is already making noise for its ZEE5 brand in the UK, even replacing flagship brand ZEE TV as headline sponsor at major events like the upcoming, Asha Bhosle UK concert. BizAsiaLive.com understands that the marketing for ZEE5 will get further aggressive in April/May.
Keep it with BizAsiaLive.com for more.