Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zee Salaam: Another Urdu TV channel from India

Zee Salaam:
Urdu channel or Islamic channel!
Early this year the pioneer TV group in India, Zee, launched Zee Salaam, a channel directed at the Urdu speaking populace.

It was the third* Urdu channel in India after ETV Urdu and DD Urdu. ETV Urdu has successfully completed ten years and is quite popular in India and abroad.

Doordarshan's Urdu channel DD Urdu, which was launched a couple of years back, is also doing well though the cable operators don't relay it everywhere.

With one of the oldest TV media groups in the country, Zee, starting a channel, one expected that it would bring original and high quality content to the viewers.

Though the channel looked promising in its initial avatar, Zee Salaam has lately been resembling more of an Islamic channel than an Urdu channel. Hardly any effort is visible in programmes.

Of course, there is a large section that likes religious programmes but Zee Salaam more and more looks like a copy of QTV or similar other religious channels. They don't need to spend much when devotional programmes are to be aired through out the day.

Perhaps, the idea is that when you can run a channel with few Maulanas, why waste your funds and energy. So there is hardly any news, discussions or infotainment and mostly its clerics who are visible on the shows from morning till late evening.

Once in while you may get to see a programme on movie songs or English learning. Unfortunately, Zee group, that has a wide range of channels and can get reports from its language channels across India, seems to be giving little attention to the channel.

While ETV's programmes particularly Khas Baat, Alami Manzar, serials and shows for women, are quite popular, Zee Salam is yet to make a mark. Urdu is not about poetry alone, it is the language that is understood by almost everybody who speaks Hindi, Punjabi or other dialects.

Zee group should make use of the opportunity and must telecast original content by making use of their correspondents across the world, to strengthen the channel. They can target at least 100 million homes with ease in India alone.

Unfortunately, they seem to have abandoned the channel in the beginning. The Sahara group has been planning to start its Urdu channel for several years and now it seems the channel would be finally on air soon.

Zee Salaam needs to improve and decide whether it wants to run a professional news & infotainment channel or would remain happy competing with the other Islamic channels. [*Some other 'international' Urdu channels were launched but they closed without leaving much impact]