After being a pioneer with the launch of India’s first Hindi Satellite channel, Zee TV in 1992, Zee Entertainment was the first to launch a Bollywood TV channel, Zee Aflam in 2008 for the Arab audience as well introduce the Arab world to Hindi programs dubbed in Arabic with Zee Alwan in 2012.
106.2 Hum FM was previously owned and operated by Shamal Media Services. The station is a frequency originating from the emirate of Umm Al Quwain and forms a part of Umm Al Quwain Broadcasting Network (UBN). The frequency was one of the first Hindi and Urdu language frequencies to hit the UAE airwaves in the 1990’s. It redefined drive time and boasted of many celebrity Radio Jockeys. It also went on to popularize live cricket commentary on radio and has a lot of pioneering firsts in the radio business.
“In our journey of over two decades, ZEE has always led the industry in its evolution and transformation,” Amit Goenka, CEO – International Broadcast Business, ZEEL said.
“Radio has been an area of interest for ZEE for quite some time and after extensive planning and studying of the brand values, ratings and revenue generated by various stations, we felt that an investment in Hum FM was the best option.”
Hum FM has a legacy of almost two decades and with a current market share of 26%, it is the top Hindi radio station in the UAE.
“ZEE is confident that it can leverage its very strong South-Asian brand connect onto Radio, and offer a synergy of Television, Radio and Digital that could revolutionize the entertainment industry in the UAE.”
UAE is one of the few countries where Indian-language FM channels operate. Home to a large expatriate population, the Gulf state has multiple radio channels in Indian languages, including Hindi and Malayalam.
“We are excited about our new business ventures. Radio comes immediately after our foray into film production and distribution where movies like ‘Rustom’ and ‘The Flying Jatt’ have done extremely well globally and specifically in the UAE and Middle East markets. The acquisition of Hum FM in UAE is a step in that direction and we are upbeat about its prospect in the coming years;” Amit further added.
Commenting on ZEE’s plans for the region, Mukund Cairae, CEO – MENA and APAC, ZEEL said, “This move is a diversification to our entertainment business portfolio, adding to the numero uno position we possess in Television among South Asians in the Middle East. This investment also shows our commitment to the region and its business landscape. Now we can offer media across Television, Radio and Digital platforms, leading to a great synergy between content and mediums.”
Zee will take advantage of its music content that includes singing reality shows like ‘The Voice India’, ‘SaReGaMaPa’, ‘Antakshari’ and ‘Asia’s Singing Superstar’ which gives it on-going relationship with the big names in the industry. It also has its own music label Zee Music Company.
Shahid Jamal, Founder & MD, Shamal Media Services said, “Hum FM pioneered FM Radio in UAE and over the years, we have made it the No. 1 Radio Station. It is now a great opportunity for us to hand over our successful radio legacy to a media network that has been a pioneer of South Asian entertainment globally and in the region. Zee Entertainment, who themselves have had a great legacy in the media business will only take the success of Hum FM to the next level.”