At a time when broadcasters are still struggling to reap the benefits of cable TV digitisation, broadcast network Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), the flagship company of the Subhash Chandra-promoted Essel Group, has seen its advertising revenue grow 35 per cent in the July-September quarter, touching Rs 8,433 million. Moreover, during the quarter, domestic subscription revenue stood at Rs 3,752 million while international subscription revenue stood at Rs 1,039 million.
ZEEL claims the launch of two new Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) ‑ &TV and Zindagi ‑ has played a big role in this. In a conversation with VCCircle, Mihir Modi, chief finance and strategy officer, ZEEL talks about how all its channels ‑ Hindi GECs as well as regional channels – along with its online platform Ditto TV, have come together to give a better viewer experience, and thereby better financial results.
Star India has been promoting hotstar in a big way. In contrast, there hasn’t been much buzz around your online video streaming platform Ditto TV. Why?
Despite being a free platform, hotstar has 4-5 million viewers on an average while Ditto TV has two million paid subscribers. The number of downloads and level of usage for hotstar goes up during important cricket tourneys. For instance, during an important cricket tourney viewership increases to 7-10 million, while during the non-cricketing season it drops to 3-4 million. Hotstar was launched during the ICC World Cup this year and Star India spent Rs 70-75 crore on advertising and marketing the product. With this kind of spend on a free platform finally getting 4-5 million viewers, Star would be losing a substantial amount of money. We believe we are doing the right thing. The day we need to create that kind of buzz it is just a matter of spending $10 million.