|Branding Zee Network|
|Type cable television network|
Headquarters Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Owner Zee Entertainment Enterprises
Zee Telugu is a Telugu-language cable television channel in India. It is offered by Zee Network, part of the Essel Group.
By 2004, the Zee Network already had a strong presence in northern, eastern and western India, with channels in Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, and Punjabi; their proposed Telugu-language channel marked their first venture into the southern India entertainment market. In June 2004, they expected the channel to launch by August. Their actual launch finally arrived in September. Initially this channel is launched with the name Alpha TV Telugu.Later they renamed as Zee Telugu.They initially featured a large amount of American films dubbed into Telugu; in August 2005, they also dubbed popular Bollywood film Sholay from Hindi into Telugu as an experiment.
By December 2005, despite having some popular programmes such as game show Gold Rush, hosted by popular female anchor Udayabhanu, as well as soap opera Nishabdam, overall Zee Telugu had only achieved a 1.24% weekday and 1.86% weekend market share in Andhra Pradesh. As a result, they re-launched themselves in order to shift their target market segment from mass market to that of upwardly mobile young professionals. They suffered a loss of Rs. 460 million in fiscal year 2005.
In late 2006, Zee Telugu began work on Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa, a Telugu-language singing competition. Anchored by Nandi Award winner Suneetha, the judges' panel included renowned Telugu music figures Koti and Ramana Gogula, and was scheduled to run for 35 episodes. The show was so successful that by February 2007, they announced plans to launch Little Champs, a version of the show aimed at the ages six to thirteen market, hosted by former Indian Idol runner up N. C. Karunya.
Mee Inti Vanta, a cookery show, has run successfully for more than 1000 episodes. It is hosted by the famous anchor Sumalatha. This program was a huge hit with female viewers and grabbed the market share in the afternoon slot. Eventually all the other channels started their own cookery shows.
Along with Mee Inti Vanta what brought even more popularity was a steamy anthology serial called Midnight Masala, or as some called it, Soyagam. It aired at 12am and aired stories which had a lot of steamy and sexy scenes. It was widely watched by adults but some people criticised that it is too racy for Telugu TV. It aired from December 2005 - December 2006 and again in 2007-2008. Its highest TRP was 2.0, an all-time high in the midnight slot in Telugu television which even networks like Maa and Eenadu Entertainment (ETV) cannot beat.
Another program introduced recently was Sreekaram Subhakaram, an astrology based program with astrologer Vakkantham Chandramouli and popular anchor Sumalatha. This is a live program and the many other channels are trying to follow suit.
In September 2007, the channel announced after months of deliberations that Sanjay Reddy would be their new chief executive officer, succeeding Ajay Kumar, who had left several months previously. Reddy had previously worked at The Walt Disney Company and Pearl Media. Reddy's plan in 2008 includes new soaps and children's programming.
On 22 May 2015 Zee Telugu celebrated its 10-year anniversary.