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ZEE Acquires TEN SPORTS, ZEE SPORTS To Become TEN ACTION ? TEN GOLF a New Channel ?
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Quote:Speculative press reports indicate that the faltering Zee Sports channel may be re-branded as TEN Action.

TEN Action will then be re-oriented with a focus on adventure sports and non-cricket content such as football and tennis. Then, TEN Sports will be the cricket channel from the Zee stable. This will provide Zee a broader presence in the sports channel category.

There is even speculation that TEN Sports may be rebranded TEN Cricket, to better identify the channel's focused content, which is likely to get it higher pay TV pricing & ad revenues.

Cricket-related advertising budgets exceeded Rs 1,200 Crore in 2009, said Shashi Sinha, chief executive of media agency Lodestar Universal Pvt. Ltd.

L.S. Krishnan, president of media specialist Radar, Mudra Group, says ad revenues for sports channels have always been sporadic. "When the cricket season is on, sports channels account for as much as 8% of the overall advertising pie while in other seasons, they account for barely 1% of the overall pie."

TEN GOLF TOO ?

Some reports in the press indicate that Zee may also launch a full time Golf channel, likely to be named TEN Golf. There are mixed views on whether such a niche sports channel will click in India. Some observers feel that Golf is a high profile sport and a lot of premium luxury brands may want to partner with the channel for sponsorships. It could also bring in big international golfing tournaments to India and spark off interest for the game.

Other experts believe India is not yet ready for such focus on sports that is not cricket. "India's mainly a cricket country and the television rights to most of the big cricketing events (even the Ranji Trophy) are aligned with certain television networks," said R. Gowthaman, leader, Mindshare, the media agency of GroupM India Pvt. Ltd. "The market's open for other television-based niche verticals such as travel and health and wellness but not sports."

Either way, Zee clearly has ambitious plans for the TEN brand and the TEN Sports channel. Crystalised plans should emerge in the next 3 months.

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