AXN-Star World Premier HD: the coming battle

MUMBAI: The other day, we reported about Star Network's soon-to-be-launched channel, Star World Premier HD, which promises all the latest shows, close to their first US telecast.

However, there's at least one other English entertainment channel which claims to be already doing what Star is now planning to do.

We're talking about AXN, which maintains it has been thoroughly researching what Indian audiences want to watch for the past one year. It was last year when the channel lured a former Sony Entertainment Television professional Sunil Punjabi from Cinemax as business head to help build a stronger brand in the Indian context. Prior to that, AXN was run out of its regional Singapore office.

And Punjabi has since been working on a blue print, studying Indian viewing habits with the intention of fine-tuning AXN's Indian programming accordingly.

Says a media observer: "With the spread of the broadband internet and availability of current US and international shows online freely and the fact that an increasing number of Indians are travelling internationally, Indian viewers have been spoilt for choice and want to be one with international TV programming and lifestyle trends."

AXN's research also apparently reflected this. And thus was born its new premise.

Elaborates Punjabi: "People want to watch shows which are airing currently closer to their airing in the US and in the last one year, we have been doing this consistently - adding shows closer to their telecast in the US."

Sunil Punjabi beleives that new shows will help the channel build loyal as well as 'snacky' fan base

AXN, which has been around for over 15 years, is therefore adding a host of new shows to strengthen its three programming pillars: soaps, reality shows and films.

So what about Star's upcoming channel? "To be frank, we experimented with the same proposition long back that Star is now offering," quips Punjabi, pointing out that it would be alluring to a much smaller bunch of viewers.

As compared to Star World Premier HD which is priced at Rs 60 on Tata Sky, AXN is carrying a slimmer price tag of Rs 25. Additionally, the former, says Punjabi, is only available right now on a la carte basis whereas AXN is available in packages too. Besides, he believes AXN also has the first mover's advantage.

Among the new offerings, AXN has already launched the End of the World (EOW) series comprising six four-hour-long installments which is airing Monday to Thursday. Whereas, Voice 5 - a singing talent hunt - will be launched within three days of its US premiere on 28 September and Supernatural (Season 9) within two days of its US debut 11 October onwards.

Meanwhile, Top Gear and The Hero will be telecast on 18 October and Sherlock and So you think you can dance? will premiere during Diwali. Orphan Black, a thriller about human cloning will also premiere around the same time.

On the subject of Supernatural - one of AXN's biggest franchises viewed by teens, especially girls and NCSI - which caters to a gender-neutral and more mature audience, Punjabi says: "We have a mix of content; hence, we don't focus on any particular gender. There is something for everyone."

The channel has its loyal set of fans but also wants to create entertainment for its 'snacky' viewers. "With the new series including Hannibal and Supernatural that have seasons, we are building on the loyal fan base, while the new reality shows are for these viewers who snack more on such fare," informs Punjabi.

Currently, AXN airs currently running US shows on Fridays, while movies and reality shows are aired on weekends. With the English movie genre being bigger, the channel wants to concentrate on that as well.

But has the AXN team been making a noise about these new shows? Apparently, it's a 360 degree focus with print, television, outdoor and digital as key elements. Last year, AXN's Facebook page had a few thousand likes; this year, it has swelled to nearly 1.3 million.

"The digital front is important to us and we are aggressively strengthening the platform. Because it is one of the primary drivers of conversation related to the channel and shows. Also, we want to show newer content online," says Punjabi.

While AXN may claim it has been working at refreshing its programming long before Star announced plans of launching its niche new channel, it is now up to the audience to decide which of the two is really walking the talk.

Latest Reads
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports
TVS Tyres is co-presenter for Asian Champions Trophy 2016

Continuing its strong connect with sports, TVS Tyres has associated with Asian Champions Trophy 2016 by becoming the co-presenter. The Asian Champions Trophy is one of the premier hockey tournaments, a much sought after annual international competition promising some great hockey action. This...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q2-17: Zee Learn declares maiden interim dividend

The board of directors of the Essel group’s education company Zee Learn Limited (ZLL) have declared a first time ever dividend of 5 percent per equity share of Re 1 each for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter).

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Whether BARC action can stop unethical practices?

MUMBAI: Can businesses and industries practise their art of selling fairly although they have 'Fair Practices' training during academic courses, workshops and several ISO and other certifications? There seems to be the fear of the lawman, and not the law in India. If the traffic cop is watching,...

Television TV Channels Viewership
TV Superhighway: beIN, Yaddo, AfricaXP have joined us, says Magine CEO Ambuj Goyal

CANNES; Magine has secured partnerships with four of the industry’s most exciting sports, documentary and entertainment content providers. Partnerships with beIN, the international media group and owner of MIRAMAX; Yaddo, the new documentary streaming service headed up by former head of The BBC’s...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Colors emerges strong on strength of Naagin I & II

MUMBAI: One of the top rated shows Naagin Season 2 helped Colors reach a top-ranking position.

Television TV Channels GECs
Pakistan Broadcasters Association to oppose PEMRA Indian content ban

MUMBAI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) shocked both Pakistan and Indian broadcasters when it issued an order blanking out  all Indian content from Pakistan’s television channels on 19 October.

Television TV Channels GECs
Sony Pix to telecast 'Jurassic World' on 22 October

Sony Pix will take the viewers on a thrilling, adventurous journey with cloned dinosaurs in their Billion Dollar Premiere property. The channel plans to air Jurassic World on 22 October at 1 pm and 9 pm.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Sony AXN scripts deal with Pinewood; buys stake in SVOD service Hopster

Folks at Sony Pictures Television (SPT) are in a celebratory mood. Not only has it signed a six-series deal with Pinewood Television but has also acquired a minority stake in the London-based video subscription service for kids content - Hopster.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories