Our Bureau

Mumbai, Sept. 28

ZEE Network has announced a collaboration with the Malaysian multi-channel pay-TV operator, Astro, to launch a new dedicated channel with Hindi content, for its Indonesian, Malaysian and Brunei Direct-To-Home service.

With this partnership, viewers in the region will get to enjoy Hindi entertainment, 24 hours a day. The channel's content will be sourced from the vast and rich Zee TV library, which will be localised with Bahasa Indonesia dubbing and Bahasa Melayu subtitling, to reflect the different language, lifestyle and viewing habits of the audiences in the three countries.

Content from the Indian sub-continent, such as top Bollywood movies, have enjoyed high ratings in this region.

The Zee channel promises exciting programmes of various genres, which include top Hindi soap operas, drama serials, blockbuster movies, lifestyle, entertainment, and musical programmes. Scheduled to be launched in the next few months, viewers of the specially packaged channel will be treated to fresh programmes with 37 hours per week of Bahasa Indonesia audio track and 54 hours per week of Malay subtitles.

With total subscriber base of more than 1.7 million, Astro has the expertise and experience in local content creation, having produced 1,292 hours of content and 7,061 hours of subtitling last year alone, including successful production of the hugely popular Akademi Fantasia, a reality-based talent programme, Miss Astro Chinese International Pageant and the International Tamil Film Awards.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Dheeraj Kapuria, Chief Executive Officer International Operations, Zee Telefilms Ltd, said, "Zee has always taken pride in being the first to reach out to global audiences with great entertainment from India. With this initiative, our Indonesian, Malaysian and Brunei viewers will be able to enjoy our shows better, because our content that is already immensely popular, will now be in a language they can understand."

Astro's Director of Programming, Mr Zainir Aminullah, said: "Astro always strives to bring relevant content to our viewers and this has been achieved through strong local content strategy and localisation of international channels. This partnership with Zee Network that will produce a new customised Hindi channel will substantially increase the appeal of our service in growing our subscriber base, as well as create differentiation in driving our new market in Indonesia."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 29, 2005)
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