ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd is gearing up to launch a new entertainment channel, a sibling to that of flagship channel ZEE TV.

The flanking channel has tentatively been titled “ZEE Next” and is looking at launching within the next five months.

Online portal IndianTelevision has reported that “ZEE Next” is envisioned as a metro-centric entertainment channel that will have content that in scope and feel will be quite similar to what was envisaged for STAR Plus۪ sibling STAR One, when it first launched in late 2004.

STAR One has proved to be a serious contender in India competing with the likes of ZEE TV and Sony Entertainment Television Asia. ZEE is also hoping the new offering will do the same. Sony Entertainment Television Asia’s SAB TV has also managed to regularly secure eyeballs for some of its programming. SAB TV also plays second to its main channel Sony.

Recently ZEE TV has been performing extremely well with it closing the gap on main rival STAR Plus in the ratings. There are those in the industry who question ZEE۪s move to launch another entertainment flanking channel, saying that it would only distract ZEE TV from a focused assault on STAR Plus. The logic of the new channel is reportedly that it will essentially be targeted as a channel that is focused more at marking its presence on addressable systems.

Sony is expected to launch SAB TV in the UK this year, STAR One is already available here and ZEE could also launch “ZEE Next” as an alternative to the existing ZEE channels, for its viewers in the UK.