Zee Network has become the foundation for taking the rich and diverse culture and ethos of every part of South Asia across the globe. The Network, which is eyeing to emerge as the leading entertainment conglomerate across the Middle East, ...

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 6 Jul 2005, 12:35 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:17 PM

symbolises and serves a diverse demographic population, providing the basic framework to give vent and shape to the aspirations of millions of South Asians; the aspirations in terms of hunger for entertainment, news, information and knowledge of the rich cultural heritage and its numerous languages and regions.

City Times caught up with Yogesh Radhakrishnan, who is spearheading the operations of Zee Network in the region.

Can you elaborate on your expansion plans in the Middle East?

We are looking at consolidating our operations in the Middle East, especially after our wonderful experience in the Zee Cine Awards here in Dubai in February 2004. We felt that this market and region is growing at an extraordinary pace and we wanted to be part of the growth curve. And then, there was a time we took the conscious decision to look more at this market and we looked at establishing a strong presence for South Asian channels in this part of the globe.

What are the special offerings tailored by Zee for the region?

Zee TV was the first South Asian channel to offer a dedicated Middle East beam. We are looking at consolidating our services and launch other brands tailor-made for the region. Special attention has been given to Thursdays and Fridays. We are creating special programmes so that the customers watch their favourite programmes rather than viewing something that is being dished out to them from India. We have done a prime slotting of our programmes keeping the local viewers in perspective; revamped the Fixed Programming Chart which gives an idea of the various programmes and shows on offer, and given it a fresh look and introduced programmes like Sarrkkar, Kasshish et al and new shows to further augment our offerings.

We are consolidating our presence by looking at programming and production from this region. For instance, noted Indian actress Aruna Irani is shooting around six to eight episodes of her show in Dubai in the next month. We are launching a slew of new programming from this region.

What are your major thrust areas in the Middle East?

The audience tastes differ in various markets and we are doing very well globally. The need of the hour is to offer a range of local programmes. We will be cashing in on the facilities on offer in Dubai — the world's best infrastructure and equipment. In the media business, growth can be exponential. We have been involved in production, technical, satellite — we have seen them all. We are looking at huge valuations and huge growth in the next two years.

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