Zee lays off 50% staff at its Bengaluru-based Technology and Innovation Centre

The company has not shared the exact number of employees impacted by the move

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd Representational image | Reuters

Zee Entertainment on Friday said it has "pruned" its Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) by about 50 per cent following the guidance of a special committee, which had conducted a critical assessment of its several business verticals.

The MD & CEO has pruned TIC staff strength by 50 per cent to achieve a cost-effective structure, a Bengaluru-based business vertical of the company that offers technology solutions, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) said in an official statement.

Though the company has not shared the exact number of employees impacted by the move, ZEEL in its latest annual report said, "The centre has over 650 engineers who give us an unparalleled edge in the race to win the digital ecosystem".

ZEEL has formed a monthly management mentorship, called 3M Program, which will guide and enable the management team to achieve key performance metrics.

"Basis the guidance received from the board during the recently conducted 3M Program, the MD & CEO (Punit Goenka) has pruned the TIC's structure by approximately 50 per cent and streamlined its scope of work," ZEEL said in the statement.

Going forward, TIC will maintain a sharper focus on enhancing the overall content creation, distribution and monetisation process for the company by utilising technology-led tools to gain deeper insights into consumer preferences, it said.

"We are laser-focused towards creating exceptional content that is rich and engaging for our viewers. We have a huge responsibility on our hands to live up to the expectations of billions of viewers across the globe and we will continue to win their hearts... To achieve this, we need the blend of a creative approach, detailed consumer insights and futuristic technology," said Goenka.

Earlier this week, ZEEL had said the committee conducted a detailed analysis of TIC, which had incurred an expenditure of about Rs 600 crore last year.

The committee has advised to "reduce the expenditure at the TIC by 50 per cent, for the Financial Year 2024-25 and utilise its services to enhance the company's content development, distribution, and monetisation approach.

Though TIC has developed a substantial level of technology and tools, it needs to focus on return on investment, it said.

The committee further advised the management to "stay focused on its core expertise, ethos and DNA ie. content" and to utilise the services of TIC to enhance its content development and distribution process.

"It has also advised that the management should leverage the TIC's Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools to gain a deeper insight into the consumer profiles," it had said.

ZEEL had recently announced a strategic realignment of its revenue vertical, that is being directly driven by the MD & CEO.

Earlier this month, in an investor's conference call, Zee Chairman had said since 2020, ZEEL's performance has been impacted due to industry-wide macro slowdown, transitory issues, and management bandwidth constraints due to merger activities.

The board has also decided to closely monitor the business model and plan presented by the MD & CEO of the company, wherein he has provided the roadmap to improve the performance and efficiency of each of the businesses to achieve higher EBITDA.

Zee had earlier announced a merger with Sony Pictures Network India that would have created a USD 10.5 billion media entity in the country. However, it was called off the Sony Group in January, and both sides are mired in litigation and arbitration.

Last month, ZEEL reported a 2.36 per cent decline in consolidated total income to Rs 2,073.36 crore for the third quarter of the current fiscal year.

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