Zee TV has rolled out a new channel in the Amharic language of north-east Africa in spite of the challenges of the global lockdown triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.
‘Zee Alem’, intended for the Ethiopian market will bring the number of network’s channels to eight, airing mainly Bollywood entertainment and serials in different languages across the African continent.
It is the first channel airing novellas, commonly known as soap operas, in Ethiopia and is already a hit amongst locals as the country’s economy improves.
The channel is present on the DSTV platform of South African satellite broadcast giant Multichoice.
The CEO of Zee Africa and Asia Pacific, Harish Goyal, said the launch of Zee Alem was “certainly not easy”.
According to Harish Goyal, “We had to overcome the mental block of the lockdown, but we decided that we had to turn the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic into an opportunity, especially since the decision to launch Zee Alem was taken in 2019 already. Exploring the opportunities, we found that the artistes required (for dubbing into Amharic) were more easily available during the lockdown. We also found an East African country which had not been so seriously affected by the pandemic and where there was only a night curfew where we could do the work.”
Zee first marked their presence in South Africa in 1996 with its original Hindi language channel Zee TV, expanding to other countries through its association with DSTV.
Over the last five years, the network has introduced different channels in Africa, comprising of its flagship channel Zee World in English.
Goyal further stated, “We have a number of projects currently under way in Africa, which we believe is still a largely untapped continent. We are planning to launch another channel later this year as well. Zee World was the first of its kind and has been customized to suit mainstream viewers on the continent.”