- Choosing a younger demographic was our venture back then, to this day
- Zee Telugu launched some of the best shows in the afternoon slot
- Television is the primary source of entertainment for the entire family during Lockdown
Zee Telugu – the Telugu GEC channels completed 16 years of operations on May 18th. The channel has been curating compelling content that matches the tastes and preferences of a varied palette of viewers and has carved a special place in the hearts of Telugu audiences.
In conversation with Medianews4u, Anuradha Gudur, Telugu Cluster Head, Zee Telugu & Zee Cinemalu spoke about the channel’s 16 years journey, challenges faced, the strength of Television as a medium and more.
On 16 years of Zee Telugu and the challenges faced
The journey of Zee Telugu has been inspiring and exuberant. We have certainly made a place in our audience’s hearts with creative, aspirational, and positive content. We have been a channel which has celebrated and will celebrate all significant milestones in the life of our audiences.
During the initial years, we had an ample number of challenges. We had well-established network channels in the Telugu television market, and each one of those channels had a significant impact on their audience. To break this clutter and establish Zee Telugu as the game-changer in the space, we had to create our own identity to complement our audience profile. Gemini TV’s primary audience were women aged 30 and above, and ETV catered to an older set of audience as their primary viewers.
As a result, Zee Telugu took to the challenge of curating unique content for consumption by the youth and urban dwellers. Choosing a younger demographic was our venture back then, and to this day, we continue casting wide net content to reach a maximum of our younger audiences in this context with a positive response. Following the latest trends that prioritise catering content for the public by understanding their needs and winning their hearts will continue to remain a constant effort for the channel.
On strategies followed to be relevant even after 16 years & success factors
We do extensive back end research work and receive feedback from the audience constantly, either through telephonic conversations or similar methods to stay relevant with our content in the market.
The success can be entirely attributed to the creative process. The significant contributions made by our producers, writers, concept designers, executors, hosts, advertisers and, of course, our viewers themselves reflect our brand proposition. All our partners play an essential role in shaping the identity of Zee Telugu.
A strive to create constant innovative concepts to be seen as the young and relevant brand that appeals to our target audience. Shows like Aata at the beginning of our journey, to the most recalled shows such as Muddha Mandaram and Prema Entha Madhuram, we have always positioned our unique content with a passion for running a strong market that has become a critical part of our success. Novel content and coordinated support of our creative producers and writers have helped us get where we are today.
On challenges and content strategy during the pandemic period
On a personal note, the pandemic has changed everything. We have a different perspective on life today. The content of the channel has been significantly transformed, taking into account the current situation. We decided to start a morning show emphasising inner peace, wellbeing, health, and spirituality.
Our reach has been effective, and the show has also gained appreciation in the market. Primetime shows like ‘Hitler Gari Pellam’ began with a bang, earning an 8 TVR in urban centres and emerging as a slot leader in the launch week. This and the afternoon show ‘Mithai Kottu Chittemma’ was initiated with humour as a base in the stories to lighten the mood and spirit of its ardent viewers. The performance figures reflect the public’s desire for this kind of content.
2020 reaffirmed the strength of television as a medium in India amongst both viewers and advertisers. How do you assess the channel’s performance in terms of revenue and viewership during the pandemic and lockdown period?
I think 2020 reaffirmed the importance of television in people’s minds because it meets the needs of families as a whole. The current thought process from viewers to television is the current force of television. 2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world where Zee Telugu has taken up this challenge and come out of it very positively and strongly as per audience response to our content.
According to BARC day, Non-Prime Time (NPT) Viewership for General Entertainment Channels (GEC) grew by 16%. What would be the factors that led to this growth?
The increase in performance for non-primetime shows is not that surprising, given the original content is rolled out by all the Southern networking channels. I believe Zee Telugu has put together some of its best shows for the afternoon slot. Homemakers followed by children who are also part of our consumption pattern. As a result, viewership has grown substantially. Lockdown has escalated the need for entertainment and television being the primary source for the entire family. Thus, the audience for non-primetime shows has grown considerably.
Can you talk about the marketing strategies and ad budget of the channel during the pre and post covid era?
The year 2020 was remarkably difficult for us. To revive our content, we onboarded Renu Desai as the face of the comeback campaign and Ramya Krishnan for ‘Nagabhairavi’ as the show launch ambassador. The campaign ‘Vinodaniki Aahvanam’, which means ‘an invitation for entertainment’, was aimed to catch the eyeballs of the audience, and this was successfully executed extensively across every medium. We were able to launch all fictions on the same day, two weeks before the market leader. We could get some good numbers for the year 2020 because of a strategic approach. In the latter part of 2020, we had K Raghavendra Rao producing one of the most emblematic shows of Zee Bangla that was remade as ‘Krishna Tulasi’. The series recently telecasted a significant turning point, and the audience showered us with a positive response. To put it all together, it was a challenging year for us where every team member devoted additional time and efforts to create extraordinary content.