Nitin Vaidya, Director, Zee Regional Channels has stated that regional channels will grow from strength to strength in the coming years. Participating in a session on ‘Resurgence of Language Media’ at FICCI Frames 2008, he said, “Regional languages are becoming a major tool to determine growth. Now even advertisers have accepted this fact and have become more positive towards the regional media compared to the previous years.”
In 1999, when Zee entered Maharashtra, there was a widespread belief that though Marathi audiences were bilingual, the market was largely skewed towards Hindi. Zee too expected that only a few viewers would be attracted to a Marathi channel. Till 2003, it was a real struggle, but Zee was determined to provide value for investors, advertisers and consumers. The share of Marathi television market was 8.3 per cent. Currently, the share stood at 19.4 per cent (Tam data; March 08 till Week 11, C&S 4+). Though Maharashtra was believed to be Hindi dominated, the share of Hindi general entertainment channels dropped from 34.9 per cent in 2003 to 25.8 in 2008. Over last five years, Zee Marathi and Zee Bangla have attracted viewers through aggressive programming and marketing.
“The South market is supposed to have crossed the Rs 1,500 crore advertising revenue mark. Two new markets have emerged over the years – Marathi and Bengali. From only three or four channels, today there are ten Bengali channels and there will be 12 Marathi channels. The combined revenues will go up to Rs 250 crore and Rs 200 crore respectively,” he added.
In 2003, the share of Zee Marathi stood at 40 per cent, while ETV Marathi was 35 per cent and DD Sahyadri 20 per cent. Although there was a decline in 2005, Zee Marathi had regained its leadership position in 2008 with a relative channel share of 46 per cent while ETV Marathi stood at 23 per cent, DD Sahyadri at 10 per cent and Mi Marathi is only seven per cent. The Marathi cluster of Zee Group, which is, Zee Marathi, Zee Talkies and Zee 24 Taas cornered 58 per cent of the Marathi viewership.
Report by: Sugandha Lonikar
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