MUMBAI: Zee Telefilms is expanding its South India presence with the launch of Kannada general entertainment channel Zee Kannada on 11 May "at 5 am".
Zee Kannada will target the general Kannada-speaking universe and the programming space will cover soaps, movies, gameshows, talk shows and current affairs programmes.
Zee Kannada will be headed by Venkat Giridhar in the capacity of business head. He will report to Zee Telefilms South initiatives head Ajaykumar.
According to sources close to Zee Telefilms, soaps and films will constitute 25 per cent of the channel programming. Gameshows and talk shows will make another 25 per cent. There will be a stress on current affairs programmes and film-based shows.
Zee Kannada has acquired a combo package of new and old films to create its movie library. Having strong film content would matter a lot for the channel's strategy in the movie-crazy market. "Since the TG is the same, Zee Kannada will have a head-on collision with Sun Network's Udaya TV and its sister channels. In this context, having strong film content will be crucial," says a market source.
"We have conceptualised our fiction programmes with fresh themes and innovative concepts. The effort will be to give a new direction to this segment and thus get a foothold in the market," says a Zee source.
Zee Kannada's positioning is in direct contrast to that of its South sibling Zee Telugu. The one-year old Telugu channel targets the young upwardly mobile viewer segment.
"You can experiment a lot in Zee Telugu as the market is huge. You have various options to choose your TG in Telugu. Kannada is however a comparatively smaller market and we have to stick to the basic strategy," adds the source.
The Rs 1.4 billion Kannada television ad market is dominated by Sun Network's Udaya TV. Another key player in the market is ETV Kannada.