Star channel network is currently the largest TV network in India. Star Network has 60 channels. Now, Zee and Sony channel networks are merging. Zee and Sony have 49 channels and 26 channels in India, respectively. So it will sum up their channel numbers to 75 more than Star. Still, Star remains far ahead of them combined in the race of TRP.
Another concern for the other networks is the OTT platforms. If ZEE5 and SonyLiv are going to be merged, then their subscribers and viewers will combine too. Sticking to the official announcement, information about the number of channels and the new logo is uncertain. Whereas programming operations, digital assets, and program libraries of the two will be merged, the rest will be finalized in the coming 90 days.
Network Standings As Per TRP
The top 10 shows in TRP include shows like Kumkum Bhagya and Kundali Bhagya from Zee. While Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashmah, Super Dancer Chapter 4, and The Kapil Sharma Show are from Sony. However, Star tops the list with 3 of its shows Anupamaa, Ghum Hai Kisi Key Pyaar Meiin, and Imli, followed by a single show Udaariyaan from Colors. Experts have stated that having many channels is not of much use unless the shows compete higher at the TRP standings.
Sudden Change At OTT Platforms
The merging of the two networks will work as a blessing in disguise for OTT platforms. The number of users is increasing day by day. The standings according to this platforms are topped by Disney Plus Hotstar with 20 million paid subscribers. It is followed by Prime Video with 11 million paid subscribers. The third on the list is Sony Liv, with 7 million paid subscribers. ZEE5 is fifth on the list with 4 million subscribers.
Unity Is Strength
Uniting the networks to merge the users is a great strategy for instant and guaranteed results, especially in this pandemic where people spend ample time on their phone screens. ZEE and Sony have a strong and versatile video library for support. Cricket is watched over 100 days a year on TVs. These networks need strong and relatable content to prosper. Punit Goenka, MD, and CEO of Zee said,
“The Ten Sports franchise which Zee Entertainment sold to Sony five years ago will come back to Zee after the merger with Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).”
“The digital landscape has created an ecosystem for monetization of sports. And therefore, this represents a good opportunity for the combined entity to really re-enter the (sports) space. This merger brings us the opportunity of the kids and sports bouquet which we did not have earlier.”
Other Tycoons Who Have Merged For Good
Nowadays, a lot of big brands are merging, including the Hollywood entertainment industry. Great businesses, namely Dharma Productions and Viacom, have joined, followed by Reliance and T-Series. Benefits multiply when both the brands target little different audiences, such as Sony has a good grip over urban audiences because of its futuristic projects. At the same time, ZEE is closely linked with the regional audience as it produces relatable content.