Zee’s global content hub to present new dramas and formats at mipcom

At MIPCOM, ZEE will be presenting their first ever English adaptation titled Lala’s Ladiez of the super successful and popular Indian sitcom Hum Paanch. The 20 part series is currently under production in the UK

Photo Caption: Sunita Uchil Chief Business Officer, International Ad Sales, Global Syndication & Production

Zee Entertainment Enterprise Ltd, with 240,000 hours of quality programming, including the largest premium Indian movie catalog in the world, is now focussing on Zee Format Factory and more. Pickle chats with ZEE’s Sunita Uchil Chief Business Officer, International Ad Sales, Global Syndication & Production

Zee has completed 25 years in business. What’s the major transformation on at Zee in the overseas market now?

What started out with one channel way back in 1992, Zee now has 32 channels in India and 40 international channels across the globe with a reach of more than a billion viewers for offering. We produce and distribute over 240,000 hours of quality programming, including the largest premium Indian movie catalog in the world. With this reach, Zee made an immersive inroad into all continents. People now know, in a strong part due to Zee TV, that Indian programming is high quality, very entertaining and delves into every genre. We are also focused on Zee Format Factory & our co-production projects with the best in the industry.

Make In India, Show the World is real now with Zee’s home grown reality show Dance India Dance as Dance US Dance, and sitcom Hum Paanch which is being produced in its British version as Lala’s Ladiez and an Anglo-Spanish sitcom Love Thy Neighbour (working title) which is adapted from the ever-popular home grown format Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain. Your views...

Zee is very happy to be a leader in helping to spread Indian programming and Indian creative content around the world. With a presence in over 172 countries, Zee is a significant global content company across genres, languages and platforms. We are increasing this move even more with, for example, our recently announced Zee Studios in Vancou-ver Canada, expanding co-production with partners around the world. We are excited to introduce new and current programming to even more people.

Zee TV is the only Indian broadcaster to have spread across the world and speak several native languages. Give a perspective of Zee’s reach in global territories.

Zee has long held a strategy to expand globally, which is reflected in our company motto “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” -- “The World is MY Family.” This is a driving plan for the company. In the past two years alone, we have created channels for diverse territories such as Germany, Latin America, South Africa, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and will continue this path. We have programming in a variety of languages including English, French, Arabic, Swahili and many more. Zee also has its leading Health Entertainment channel in the US, the Z Living Network, with an outstanding library of 1700 hours of health & lifestyle content. All produced in English-language.

Do you see growth focus in any particular region? What are the potential markets for Zee?

We see more expansion in Latin American and Africas and that is why Zee has recently added more development and investment into those regions. We are also investing in local programming for example, Khwaabon Ke Darmiyaan is a very popular Indian dramatic series that we co-produced with a leading African broadcaster and a leading pay TV platform in the Middle East that was filmed and broadcast in Dubai to top ratings. We will expand on these type of new co-productions to tap into various regions.

What is your objective at MIPCOM this year? What is Zee’s attraction for buyers at MIPcom?

Our objective is certainly to connect with new & existing buyers and associates. Zee is present at MIPCOM on the exhibitor floor – P1-K51. Global Content Hub By Zee, the syndication division of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), will showcase its latest drama series Kundali Bhagya, Piya Albela & Woh Apna Sa and fresh mainstream lifestyle entertainment shows, Yoga Girls, Big Fat Truth, Altar’d and Conquered. We will be presenting our first ever English adaptation titled Lala’s Ladiez of the super successful and popular Indian sitcom Hum Paanch. The 20 part series is currently under production in the UK. Besides this, we also have Phantasmagoria, Moksha, Love Thy Neighbour, India’s Asli Champion and other exciting formats and originals from Zee Format Factory. Finally, we are most excited to showcase a peek preview on an upcoming Feature Documentary Special, Life of Earth From Space, which will be a blue chip quality co-production – a two hour mini-series covering formation of our planet Earth and development of Life.

What’s the impact of syndication business in the digital now world?

The impact has been a positive one. With new digital platforms, Zee is excited about the state of the syndication business and we are able to share our programming to new and younger audiences via advanced technology. Our continuing partnerships with major digital players have developed into a large segment and is acting as a key avenue to extend the availability of our content to global viewers.

Has protectionists’ sentiment in many countries impacted export of content? Do you see challenges in this space?

We have not really seen any impact to Zee’s programming reach. Zee has many family programs which are acceptable to many country’s censors as well as good working relationships with state broadcasters. Of course, co-development, co-production and format business models help to get over some of the hurdles and we are getting stronger in all these areas every day.

How do we effectively use India’s soft power from content reach perspective globally? In the recent Portland USC report on global soft power rankings of countries, India doesn’t feature in the top 20. Will this trend change in the coming years?

India’s business reputation as a whole has been growing very well and many content industry experts have said that India is the country to watch for emerging developments among the BRIC nations. Also, Indian companies are often easier to work with. So people see big a growth potential.

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