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TV Impact: Hassan Zuberi on the changing UK TV climate

In our special series of reports, Hassan Zuberi, Managing Director of UK media agency, House of Advertising, has given his perspective on the ever changing UK Asian TV climate.

With Star Plus maintaining its lead in UK ratings, other major broadcasters have been feeling the heat. Zuberi, who regularly books campaigns for his clients on a number of Asian TV channels, has closely been watching the changing times over the past few months.

What’s your opinion on the direction UK Asian TV market is taking?
It’s competitive times for everyone, especially for those who have the same content such as fictions, musical shows, etc. Viewers these days are not as loyal as they were before. They’re constantly on the lookout for original content. Having the same old formulas of daily fictions and reality shows are no longer going to attract viewership.

The best example I can give is about mobile companies launching new versions every year to attract new customers and give existing customers new features.

Which has been the biggest surprise for you on the TV front over the last three months?
I’ve been hearing about the “free-to-air” status for the last 4 to 5 months and the biggest surprise for me after three months is that advertisers have become a lot more choosy from the selection of “free” channels. They have tightened their budgets and not so easy to dish out monies on channels that are underperforming no matter how big the brand is. TV channels sales target and agency businesses are very hard and everyone seems to be struggling. Hope in the future we can all work together and secure our future.

Which TV channel has impressed you the most in the recent Sky changes?
Let me correct you, the changes have occurred only in the Sky packages, the content remains the same. There’s also the addition of HD channels from Sony to enhance the viewing experience.

Which platform will be the biggest winner in the next year?
Digital. I think Netflix and Amazon will capture the big ethnic market. Already a lot of latest Bollywood movies and dramas are being released on Netflix and Amazon before television.

Which Urdu service do you feel has had the best run recently?
Hum Masala and Hum TV.

What do you envisage to happen over the next six months?
I think digital will expand and large chunk of the market. I’d request all channels to launch a mobile app to further invest in digital content, even if it means launching an app with downloadable content.

(Laughs) After face recoginition apps on mobile devices, viewers won’t have time in the future to go anywhere physically.