Fresh from acquiring the Odiya channel Sarthak for Rs 115 crore, media powerhouse Zee Entertainment Enterprises is looking at opportunities in the Malayalam and Bhojpuri space.
“Once our Tamil business is turnedaround, we will be looking at opportunities in Kerala. We are still studying Northern market, especially the Bhojpuri, but we have not taken any decision yet,” managing director and chief executive Punit Goenka told analysts recently.
Zee had launched the Tamil general entertainment channel Zee Tamizh in 2008 but it hasn’t been performing well ever since.
“Advertising growth will only come in once the Tamil channel starts to perform,” Goenka said.
Zee has a bouquet of regional channels like Zee Marathi and Zee Talkies, Zee Bangla, Zee Bangla Cinema, Zee Telugu, Zee Kannada, apart from Zee Tamizh.
It is a market leader in Telugu and Marathi and is second in Kannada and Bengali, according to the latest BARC data.
However, its Tamil channel doesn’t feature among the top three in the state.
According to a recent Ficci-KPMG report regional entertainment channels comprising regional GECs, regional movies and regional music accounted for 23.3 per cent viewership share in 2014.
Of this, Tamil GECs have the biggest share with 27.6 per cent viewership, followed by Telugu with 24 per cent and Marathi with 14.1 per cent of the total regional viewership.
The Malayalam market, with close to a dozen players, is dominated by Asianet and Mazhavil Manorama, which accounted for 5.3 per cent of viewership in 2014.
Against this, Bhojpuri’s viewershhip share was just 0.6 per cent.
“Regional markets continue to be a key revenue driver for the national broadcasters and they are looking at expanding their regional language offerings. However, beyond the six existing reasonably large regional markets, it is unlikely that any other regional market would gain enough scale,” the report said.