The Failure of Zee's Sawaal Dus Crore Ka

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR004
Case Length : 9 Pages
Period : 1991 - 2001
Organization : Zee TV, Star TV
Pub Date : 2001
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : Media and Entertainment

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Background

Zee TV, a Hindi television channel from Zee Telefilms Ltd. (ZTL) was launched in October 1993. ZTL was originally incorporated as Empire Holdings Limited in 1982.

The company dealt mainly in leasing, hire purchase and other financial services until 1992, when the company was reincorporated after its memorandum of association was modified to include new businesses. The company was then re-christened ZTL. In the 1990s, the Government did not allow private channels to uplink from India. Therefore, Subhash Chandra, CEO, ZTL, co-promoted Asia Today Limited (ATL) with a capital base of $ 11 million, contributed by a consortium of NRIs. ATL was incorporated in Hong Kong to broadcast ZTL's channels. ZTL's channels included Zee TV, Zee Music, Zee English, Zee MGM, Zee News, ZED TV, Zee Cinema, Siticable and the Alpha range of regional language channels.

Launched in December 1991, Star Plus was the fifth channel from the STAR TV Network. STAR, a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corporation,6 was Asia's leading multi-platform content and service provider.

STAR TV channels included Star Chinese Channel, Phoenix Chinese Channel, Star Plus, Star World, Channel [V], ESPN, Star Sports, Star Movies, Star GOLD, Phoenix Movies, VIVA Cinema and Star News, in addition to distributed channels Fox News, Sky News and National Geographic Channel. In July 1993, News Corp acquired 63.6% stake in Star, and a further 36.4% stake in February 1995. In January 1994, News Corp entered into a strategic alliance with Zee and bought a 49.9% stake in ATL. This alliance agreement limited Hindi programs on STAR to a maximum of 50% of its total program time. Similarly, Zee was to limit its English programs to 50% in its channels...

Excerpts >>

6] News Corporation Limited was one of the world's largest media companies with total assets of approximately $ 38 billion (December 2000 figures) and total annual revenues of approximately $ 14 billion. News Corporation's diversified global operations in the United States, Canada, Continental Europe, Australia, Latin America and the Pacific Basin included production and distribution of motion pictures and television programming; television, satellite and cable broadcasting; publication of newspapers, magazines and books; production and distribution of promotional and advertising products and services; development of digital broadcasting; the development of conditional access and subscriber management systems; and creation and distribution of popular on-line programming.


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