Masala movies channel ZEE Bollywood from 31 Aug; 4 brands already on board

image-zee-bollywood-masala-channel-launch-mediabrief-02The movie channel business is one of perhaps 400-500 titles to play around with, with around 10% A category films, 30 to max 40% B category films, and the rest C and sub-C graveyard shift movies. So every time a multiple-channel broadcaster announces a new movies channel, the first question I like to ask is: What’s the size of your library? That was the first question that popped to mind when one heard that ZEEL is launching a Hindi Movies channel called ZEE Bollywood. Well, one hears that the answer is 600, which is very good, but whats even better is that these have been handpicked from a network library that’s 4500-strong. Now still doesn’t specifically tell you how many titles for ZEE Bollywood, but then one saw how it’s been branded and defined, and if indeed it sticks to a core focus  in its offering, ZEE Bollywood should do well.

Its core offering is a word that’s become a cliché in Bollywood: Masala. Cliche not in a bad sense at all, because everyone knows that it’s the masala movies that are most likely to become blockbusters. Masala is the ingredient one refers to to explain why even a not-too-good movie shone at the box office. Masala is what gets the audiences clapping, whistling. And the canny ZEEL leadership, which owns and runs the largest Hindi Movies cluster with a share of around 25-odd percent if one isn’t  mistaken, has picked a cool trick with this new Bollywood channel – define, and remain true to, its core offering of Masala manoranjan (entertainment).

So one hears — and sees from the branding and initial poster campaign — that ZEE Bollywood’s going to be a destination for fans of Masala Bollywood movies.

image-in-post-zee-bollywood-masala-channel-launch-mediabrief-01ZEEL tells us (unspecified) research reveals 39% Indians love watching Masala Bollywood movies that are truly entertaining. So, as Bollywood is moving towards new-age, realistic cinema that is low on what the clever ZEEL Marketing team described as  ‘Filmoglobin’  — the X-factor a Bollywood fan’s heart yearns for, says the marketing team — ZEE Bollywood, to cover this need gap,  will showcase ‘passionately curated Masala Bollywood movies thereby proffering itself as  a one-stop destination for ‘wholesome masala entertainers.’

Here’s a wacky channel promo:

4 brands on board before ZEE Bollywood launch

image--zee-bollywood-masala-channel-launch-mediabrief-channel-partnersThe strong brand proposition seems to have worked. The channel goes live on 31st August, but it already has four leading brands signed on as channel partners — Nerolac, Lays, Cadbury and Nirma Salt.  Of course it is important for a forthcoming channel to demonstrate advertiser endorsement pre-launch, and ZEEL has the clout and more to ensure that pre-launch, but one is inclined to believe that it’s got to be more the ‘masala’ element and some excellent titles that’s swung this. And with the channel rolling out a what it calls a ‘high-on-filmoglobin’ brand campaign, it should be able to draw more like-minded brands that believe ‘mass’ and ‘masala’ are the strongest magnets. We know there are many such brands, and ZEE Bollywood’s marketing plan should engage both, B2C and B2B audiences.

The campaign will roll out across Television, Print, Outdoor, Digital, Radio and PR. In fact, the campaign will not call for too much real and actual outflows, as ZEEL is a true mega, multiple-media broadcaster owning large platforms of public connect. So, along with larger-than-life ambient outdoor media promotions in key markets, on the digital front, Zee Bollywood says it will go all-out to create a cult following with its unique poster-art-meets-desi-dialogue-baazi executions across social platforms.

My educated guesstimate: ZEE Bollywood should open at around 6-7% of market share, and if the campaign and picking of titles roll along for a month at least, it should pick up and reach 10-12% — even more, actually — of market share by the end of Month 3, because that’s the strength of the genre. Look at how often Suryavansham is repeated on MAX – every second week at least? And it delivers numbers at a steady drip. That’s the magic of masala, and if ZEEL’s focus on masala is steadfast and unshakeable, ZEE Bollywood will deliver. So, provided none of the regulatory announcements upcoming early September throw any spanner in the works for broadcasters on pricing and distribution.

So that was the business end of the news. Now, let’s go through the considered and thought out iteration of the ZEEL and ZEE Bollywood leaderhsip’s strategic vision for ZEE Bollywood.

The Zee Bollywood promise

Bollywood, with its grand scale, glamour, raw emotional connect and melodious music, inspires the common man to live beyond the mundane. Replete with dance, music and unique dialogue-baazi, Masala Bollywood movies transport you to a distinct flamboyant universe.

image-zee-bollywood-masala-channel-launch-mediabrief-07Keeping this in mind, Zee Bollywood has curated an exciting roster of over 600 exclusive ‘Masalon se koot koot ke bhari filmein’ that are not only highly entertaining but also celebrate the larger than life colorful vibrant cinema.

Zee Bollywood focuses on a diverse set of desi at heart viewers who seek a rich experience and live life to the fullest. The channel celebrates Bollywood in all its glory and splendor which is evident in the way it has been conceptualized.

The enthusiastically curated hand painted movie posters, the usage of dialoguebaazi, the explosion of colors, the poster color design look replete with vibrant visual elements, the Golden Disco Ball representing the song & dance culture of Bollywood ingeniously integrated into the design, all of it oozes Shuddh Bollywood and celebrates Bollywood in its truest sense.

Zee Bollywood will handpick movies (from amongst the 600 already shortlisted) on Romance – like like Chennai Express and Jab wet Met; Comedy – Phir Hera Pheri, Houseful, Welcome; Action – Agneepath, Josh, Gadar; and Drama – Lagaan, Judaai, Raja Hindustani. These are excellent handpicked examples of masala Bollywood films.

Now about the branding. I believe that the painstaking and clever way in which the new channel has been designed, styled and branded, bespeaks more than the usual cull-and-collate-movie-titles-and-spew-out-a-movie-channel process of launching another movie channel from a large library.

The time bands have been given interesting names from some memorable phrases and songs of Bollywood: 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), Raat Baaki (Mon to Fri 12 am) and Maa Kasam Sunday Hai (Sun 10:30am, 2pm, 5pm).

Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, ZEEL adds, “At ZEEL, our aim has always been to fuel the entertainment space with extraordinary content that satiates the needs of our viewers. Specifically, in the Hindi movie segment we understand the viewer as someone whose mind seeks different kinds of cinema, while his heart continues to yearn for Masala Bollywood! Hence, we came up with the Big idea of Zee Bollywood – a channel that brings you the Best in class ‘Masalon se Koot Koot Ke Bhari Filmein’ that are high on Filmoglobin – the antidote to dubs and new age realistic movies, so that life is pumped up with ‘101% Shuddh Bollywood’.”

“Zee Bollywood,” says Pratyusha, “is our tribute to Masala Bollywood movies that excite the common man. The brand promise of 101% Shuddh Bollywood was conceptualized with rooted strengths of Timeless Bollywood movies, Larger than life expressions and Deadly dialogues. The channel’s look and communication has been created to pay homage to the principles of Masala Bollywood with original, iconic and dynamic renditions that viewers will find unique.”

Ruchir Tiwari, Business Head, Zee Hindi Movies Cluster, says, “Zee Bollywood is our tribute to that purest form of cinema which stands for wholesome entertainment that defines the ultimate movie viewing experience. The charm of these movies lies in the unparalleled blend of raw emotions, intense drama, powerful action and soulful music delivered in a grand, glamorous scale.”

“However, with the shift in focus to new age or realistic movies in the recent times, this charm is slowly getting lost,” Tiwari says, adding,  “Audience of Hindi movies increasingly yearns for this genre of movies which is a strong need gap. With the launch of Zee Bollywood, we intend to wow our viewers with a platform that revels in this flamboyance of Shuddh Bollywood movies.”

Vijay Sanil, President, Sales at Zee Network, says, “Our latest offering Zee Bollywood promises to appeal to the Hindi speaking markets in the heartland. The new channel will now cater to the hard-core Bollywood fan who is a loyalist of masala Bollywood movies.”

So, starting Friday the 31st of August, ZEEL is set to bring you 101% Shuddh Bollywood with Zee Bollywood. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Your thoughts, please