In an emailed interaction with Medianews4U, Anindya Khare, Marketing Head, Zee Media Corporation outlines the growth of ZEE Media, its foray into regional markets and the growth of digital consumption.
ZEE Media Corporation: tell us about its journey and growth, briefly. What is the scale today?
We have seen a huge curve in our growth from the time of inception in 1999. We were one channel and today we have 14 news channels in six different languages and 15 digital properties. We have one of the largest networks of news bureaus and correspondents with a pan-India presence. The journey has obviously been exhilarating, because the media landscape has seen tremendous changes with a lot of volatility too. The key has always been to adapt and address the need gap that exists in the market. This approach has helped us grow and sustain in the long run. Our teams at various levels have met multiple setbacks, tremendous competition and market volatility. Yet we are here today, as one of India’s largest news networks touching more than 183 million viewers on broadcast and 203 mn on digital.
Today the company also has a presence in the international market with WION. How has this brand been built?
There were two ways that we followed. First, we built a brand that was based on unbiased journalism. Our journalism doesn’t involve yelling at our guests, or sensationalising our content. The end-goal for us is to provide news with a holistic picture.
Second, we built news channels to cater to every region. The Indian diaspora across the globe now holds the brand close to its heart and thus we were able to make inroads into the international market. Our channel WION News is India’s first and only international news channel, and that has helped us present news with an Indian context building our credibility therefore making it possible to expand footprint globally.
In the new India, or shall we call it Bharat, the regional market is growing fast. How is ZEE Media expanding here?
At Zee Media we recognised there was a major need for channels that offered news content focusing on regional issues. There are multiple national channels but very rarely do they focus on hyperlocal news that is important for that specific region. When we realised this need-gap, we decided to launch channels specific to regions that cater to the interest of the people residing in these regions. We leverage the legacy that ZEE Media has to expand into regional markets.
We currently have 11 such channels in 10 languages, including digital live TV. Our focus for these channels is very simple: regional news in regional language. Cater to the interest of the people, and build from there. We will be adding many more regional channels in the near future.
In the past two years, digital consumption and advertising has surged. How are you customising the content and marketing conversations on digital platforms?
Each platform has its own nature and the kind of audience it caters to. We customise our content to showcase on these platforms so that we can reach out to the right target audience. For example, our viewers are heavy on Twitter and Facebook, but the same content will not fit both the platforms.
We’ve also taken live TV, and have it embedded in our app in some ways. We understand that the market for digital is growing and we have been tweaking our properties to fit into the pocket of an average Indian — so that they always have access to our brands or our products
Covid-19 proved to be a disruption for the digital marketing sector in India as it accelerated the adoption and understanding of the new-age platforms by brands and individuals. Digital engagement of customers has risen due to increased content consumption, and the digital ad industry is making the most of this by giving a very measurable ROI, and almost an immediate impact.
With digital media, it is important that we understand how it functions and fine-tune and adapt to it. It is a revolutionary platform and this industry/medium will only continue to grow.