By Yohan P Chawla
On a Thursday – the day when review and preview screenings of to-be-released Bollywood films are held – one didn’t expect to experience a nostalgic flashback of ‘masaaledaar’ Bollywood with a fat pinch of early 2000s songs at an uber-cool party spot in the western suburb of Andheri in Mumbai city. It happened to be the venue for the entertainment-wrapped unveiling and launch announcement of a Bollywood Hindi Movie channel from the ZEE Movie Cluster. Named ZEE Bollywood, the channel will start airing on, you guessed it, a Friday. The date – 31st of August 2018.
Zee Bollywood will replace Zee Classic. However, we will see a “new and fresh” Zee Classic in few months’ time, with a fresh license.
“Shuddh Masaledar Bollywood is the missing ingredient,” said ZEEL COO Ashish Sehgal. “Hence to serve this demand, we will be adding a new feather in the ZEEL cap — Zee Bollywood.”
“ZEEL has the number one movies cluster by far with a share of 35.8% with 4,500 Bollywood titles, the largest number in the world,” Sehgal said. Sounding a good-natured content-specific warning to the OTT platforms, he added, “We continue to grow and acquire the best and the biggest titles going forward — Amazon and Netflix, please take note!”
Saying the plan is to remain absolutely true to the ethos of the new channel, Ruchir Tiwari, Business Head of Zee Hindi Movies Cluster said, “See, dubbed South Indian movies do drive ratings for the Hindi movie cluster, but they will not be a part of the ZEE Bollywood offering. That’s because the ethos of the channel is pure masala Bollywood.”
In fact, the ZEE Bollywood FPC – trade jargon for telecast schedule – has been branded in true Bollywood style – with some memorable phrases from masala songs and dialogues. So you have Mere Sat-Sun Aayenge (Sat, Sun 9pm), Subhah Ho Gayi Mamu (Mon to Fri 10:30am), Dopehar Ka Tadka (Mon to Fri 2pm), Chalti Hai Kya 9 se 12 (Mon to Fri 9pm), and Raat Baaki (Mon to Fri 12 am), with Maa Kasam Sunday Hai (Sun 10:30am, 2pm, 5pm) bringing up the three focus Sunday offerings.
And the new channel’s ‘pure masaledar Bollywood’ promise and personality has been iterated in a company release as: ‘Zee Bollywood, the brand is built on the strongest pillars of entertainment that appeal to the hardcore Bollywood fans such as Romance, Comedy, Action, and Drama and have been conceptualized as follows:
- 101% Shuddh Romance with films like Chennai Express, Jab wet Met
- 101% Shuddh Comedy with films like Phir Hera Pheri, Houseful, Welcome
- 101% Shuddh Panga with films like Agneepath, Josh, Gadar
- 101% Shuddh Drama with films like Lagaan, Judaai, Raja Hindustani
Ruchir Tiwari, Business Head of the Zee Hindi Movies Cluster, told me, “Zee Bollywood is primarily for the audiences who crave for entertaining cinema. If you have enjoyed a Baaghi and a Raazi, this means you want newer stories and new content, but you will not stop watching your staple masala Bollywood films.”
Speaking on his expectation from Zee Bollywood, Tiwari said, “ZEE Bollywood could go to a 9 to10% market share very soon; it’s the potential of this offering in this category, so it will definitely not be a smaller cannel with just 5 to 6% market share.”
Commenting on the comparison of the Zee Hindi movies library with international OTT platforms, Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, ZEEL, said, “I watch Netflix and Amazon, but I cannot find the masala Bollywood library; nothing beats the kind of library of 4,500 titles that we have. What they are doing is aggressively buying the newer titles. Zee Bollywood is the sit-down, ‘pamper me’ Bollywood masala buffet of movies, the way I want. And here is an out and out tribute to Bollywood.”
“When you feel your filmoglobin levels are down, come to ZEE Bollywood,” she says smiling.
ZEE Bollywood will target viewers in the age bracket of 25 to 40, and, of course, just about anyone who loves masala Bollywood movies.
Speaking on the channel’s marketing campaign, Agarwal said, “There is a certain larger-than-life-ness to it. You will see the campaign on our own network. We are amplifying stuff like You’re missing filmoglobin in life. We are celebrating, and giving an ode to Bollywood.”
She said Lowe has designed the on air promos and advertising campaign for Zee Bollywood.
“These movies are all cult brands,” Agarwal said, “and we are going to very strong on digital. We have created GIFs and cinemagraphs. We are betting on a lot of WOM and engagements through sharing, liking, commenting on and tagging happening across social media.”
“And when ZEEL acquires a new shudh masala Bollywood film, we will premiere it on ZEE Bollywood,” she added.