Zee Telefilms' Competitive Strategies

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG107
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1992-05
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Zee Telefilms Limited
Industry : Entertainment
Countries : India

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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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Background Note

Zee, an Essel Group5 company, launched Zee TV, the nation's first Hindi channel by a private organization. Zee TV evoked a massive positive response from Indian viewers, since it brought them a much wider choice of programs compared to Doordarshan. Zee TV's broadcast content ranged from film-based to educational programs.

Zee's mass appeal was in direct contrast to Star (launched in 1991) which aired programs exclusively in English. Catering to the needs of the vast Hindi-speaking Indian audience, Zee TV's popularity grew by leaps and bounds during the period 1992 to 2000.

Zee TV won The Economic Times' "The Emerging Company of the Year" award in 1998, for its remarkable success within 6 years of its launch. In the same year, Zee TV won the FICCI6 award for creativity in visual media. Within a span of 3 years (1998-2001), Zee TV expanded its network further, introducing a number of channels both in India and overseas.

By 2004, Zee was a fully integrated media corporate with a major presence in TV programming, Films, Music, Print, Broadcasting, Internet Portals, Internet Service Provider (ISP) service, Events, Cable Distribution, DTO, etc7. Zee channels had a viewer base of over 250 million across the globe. It operated in 5 continents across 120 countries8.

Zee's Initial Success

In October 1995, Sony Entertainment Television9 (SET) made its entry into India. Star, which was launched in 1991, was also making an effort to attract larger numbers of the non-westernized Indian viewers. Zee had to come up with a new strategy to counter this competition. While Star and Sony were concentrating more on improving their programming content, Zee planned the launch of two channels dedicated to news and cinema, respectively. Zee had its action plan ready but it did not have the funds for expansion. It therefore entered into a partnership with Rupert Murdoch (Murdoch), the man behind Star, in 1995.

With this deal Murdoch acquired a 50% stake in Zee. Once the Zee-Star deal was finalized, Zee launched the nation's first round-the-clock Hindi news Channel - Zee News and a Hindi movies channel - Zee Cinema. Zee News aired news every hour and its programs ranged from interviews with corporate personalities to discussions on the country's social and political issues...

Excerpts >>

5] Essel Group of companies, the parent company of Zee has operations in entertainment broadcasting, cable TV, films, theme parks, publishing, education, retailing, manufacturing and real estate.

6] Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

7] www.zeetelevision.com.

8] www.zeetelevision.com.

9] Sony Entertainment Television, first venture of Sony Pictures Entertainment, the biggest entertainment powerhouse of America.

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