With numbers and popularity waning for traditional television channels, broadcasting giant, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited is planning to shutdown its only two linear channels, ZEE TV and ZEE Cinema in the UK.
The move does not come as a huge surprise as its flagship channel, ZEE TV has been struggling in UK ratings since it joined BARB. Similarly, the company axed &TV, Zing, Living Foodz and ZEE TV HD from both Sky and Virgin Media earlier this year. However, the channels continue to broadcast on ZEEL’s digital platform, ZEE5 – a trend which will be followed by ZEE TV and ZEE Cinema soon.
Confirming the developments, Punit Goenka, Managing Director and CEO of ZEEL told Business Today India, “My household, which never watched linear TV, has started watching OTT. It is incremental viewership, it’s not at the cost of anything. Flip to the international markets: I myself will shut down linear businesses in several markets and operate only through OTT.”
Asked to elaborate on the presence of ZEE channels in linear format in international markets, Goenka added, “Yes, we have already started doing it. It’s not viable to reach a niche audience segment through traditional distribution. We have exited markets such as Australia and South East Asia. By end of this year, we will be exiting the UK and Europe.”
This will make ZEEL the first major Indian broadcaster to axe all of its linear channels in UK/Europe market. The company already is promoting ZEE5 heavily, with regular on-air promos, on-screen astons and on-ground events using the ZEE5 branding. However, it will be a good few months before the channels disappear due to contractual agreements in place with Sky and Virgin Media.
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