One more feather in Star's English GEC cap

MUMBAI: Not content with having a clutch of channels firmly ensconced in the English entertainment space, Star India is gearing up to add one more English GEC to its existing bouquet.

Titled STAR World Premiere HD, the channel will debut on the Star network on 24 September. It will cater to a super premium audience aka global Indians by airing the biggest US shows from the biggest studios like FOX Studios, Warner, Disney and Sony in a cluster of 26 episodes.

Speaking about its TG, STAR India business head Kevin Vaz said: “We thought there is a certain super premium kind of audience, which is very up-to-date with global trends. And I would like to call it more as global Indian.”

We want to eliminate the concept of a release gap between US and India says confident Kevin Vaz

“They know the space in terms of luxury goods, technology, entertainment needs etc. When it comes to television, many channels have a longer gap from the US release. So how do we satisfy this audience? We thought this would be a good opportunity to give them entertainment on a daily basis.”

Spelling out who constitutes its TG, Vaz said: “It is the most premium audience in India, comprising the one per cent of top SEC, A+ and between the age group of 20 to 35.”

With Star reaching out to 67 per cent of the total English audience, STAR World Premiere HD will air four hours of original content every day,Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday will see a lot of catch-ups with the channel planning to air drama and comedy-based shows, respectively.

The newbie’s proposition reads: ‘Watch with the World’ for it will air shows on television that are playing in the US at the same time and will play in India within the same week. “We want to eliminate the concept of a release gap between US and India,” Vaz pointed out.

So, shows including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Blacklist, Betrayal, Dads, The Goldbergs, The Michael J. Fox Show, Mom and Sleepy Hollow will be telecast on television for the first time both in the US and in India. While audiences here will get to see the latest seasons of shows such as The Simpsons (S25), New Girl (S3), Revolution (S2) , Two & A Half Men (S11), White Collar (S5), Sons of Anarchy (S6), Revenge (S3), Person of Interest (S3), New Girl (S3), The Neighbors (S2), Last Man Standing (S3), Modern Family (S5), Homeland (S3), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (S9), Castle (S6) and Criminal Minds (S9).

The network will aggressively promote the new channel through digital and on-air. For starters, the Facebook page boasts 1,221 likes and is being kept up-to-speed with pictures, videos, polls and all the hot goss, even sharing links with official pages of the various shows aired on the channel. So also the official twitter handle of the channel @SWPremiere was abuzz with nearly 188 tweets from over 521 followers at the time of penning this article. It also has the hash tag #WatchWithTheWorld.

Its main website is also decked up with pictures of the biggest shows.

But will the network tie-up with other network channels as well? “At the end of the day, through our star network channels, we will reach out to most of our audiences. I don’t think we need to go outside the kind of network that Star network has,” said a confident Vaz

On the other hand, planners feel that the channel is not going to be a typical advertising model. Agreeing on this, Helios Media managing director Divya Radhakrishnan states: “In today’s time, people download all the latest shows on the internet and then watch it, because they are not able to watch seasons parallel happening in the US. So it is a good move by the network, which is trying to attribute this small bunch of audiences who are doing that.”

Radhakrishnan feels that the advertising GRPs will be very small for the newbie. She says: “The network is trying to address those audiences and people who download from net and will be open to subscription model. They will go more for the subscription model revenue driven rather than advertising one. The way they are advertising is watch it along with the America. So whatever shows is getting premiered in America, you don’t have to wait for it to come to India and you don’t have to download it from the net and they will air it. So that is their USP."

This is the fourth English GEC from the STAR Network stable after STAR World, FOX Crime and FX.

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