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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Family coup aims to rescue Zee
Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gham
Zee has spent heavily on new films
The founding family has wrested back control of Indian media group Zee, in the hope of bringing the once wildly successful broadcaster back to its former glory.

Subhash Chandra, Zee's founder and chairman, has taken over day-to-day management, shunted aside chief executive Sandeep Goyal, and appointed family members to key executive positions.

The boardroom coup is the culmination of Mr Goyal's unsuccessful attempt to revive the fortunes of Zee TV, the group's flagship cable channel.

Despite last year's introduction of a raft of popular dramas and game shows, and an inescapable marketing blitz, Zee has been unable to claw back audience from Rupert Murdoch's Star Plus.

Kept in the family

Mr Chandra has assembled a core team to oversee Zee's new strategy, including a director each for Zee Music and Zee Cinema, Zee News, youth channel Etc and English-language channels Zee MGM and Zee English.

Koi Apna Sa
Zee's shows have failed to stir audiences

Some of these new faces are Mr Chandra's relations, notably Lakshmi Goel, appointed head of Zee's news division.

This implies that the firm may be shifting away from Mr Goyal's focus on Zee TV, analysts said.

But aside from the need to review its sprawling holdings, there is little consensus on what Zee needs to do to boost its audience, other than spend ever more money on buying in must-see films and programmes.

Home-grown success

This has been the strategy so far: last month, Zee announced the acquisition of 25 brand-new Bollywood films.

Kaun Banega Crorepathi
"Millionaire" helped Star Plus shine

But with income dwindling - advertising revenue fell to 3.6bn rupees (48m; $74m) in the year to March 2002, from 4.6bn a year earlier - Zee is not able to buy its way up the ratings for long.

Star Plus, currently and for the past two years the country's top-rating cable TV channel, won its crown with its version of the game show "Who wants to be a millionaire?".

The show proved an even bigger hit in India than elsewhere, and Star Plus was able to hold onto a significant proportion of the extra viewers it attracted.

Zee now needs its own home-grown blockbuster show, media watchers say.

See also:

11 Oct 02 | Entertainment
20 Sep 02 | South Asia
25 Feb 02 | Entertainment
20 Feb 02 | Entertainment
07 Sep 01 | South Asia
22 Aug 01 | South Asia
02 Aug 01 | Business
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