Television

AXN to continue moving along the pay route post CAS

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NEW DELHI: Reiterating that AXN will continue to be a pay channel even after conditional access system is introduced in India, whenever that is, V-P marketing AXN Asia Gregory Ho said that in the initial phase of CAS most pay channels' viewership will get "impacted."

"CAS will usher in an era in India which will be similar to any other market in Asia like Japan where there will be an ala carte menu and also premium fare." Ho made these remarks while addressing journalists concerning the channel's plans for the show Alias which will premiere on the channel next month. Pointing out that Indians are "very fortunate" as they hardly have to pay anything for a whole gamut of channels, Ho said that in Singapore, for example, the basic tier costs as much as Singapore $30 per month.

Over and above that for every other channel the subscribers have to pay extra and all movie channels were part of the pay package and charged a premium. Terming India as the "rising star" in the scheme of AXN, Ho said: "India has the potential and if we get it right, this market will become a cash cow." At the moment, the most lucrative market for AXN is Taiwan where cable penetration is as high as 95 per cent. Though Ho was a bit cagey about revealing revenue figures, he did admit that AXN's Indian operation garnered more revenue out of advertising as ''subscription revenue in India is quite low".

Pointing out that India could have become the cash cow last year itself but for the economic slowdown which hit the global economy, Ho said now as per their expectation, the Indian market will take another couple of years to become the proverbial cash cow. "The market is slowly picking up but there is a guarded optimism (amongst advertisers)," he added.

To build up the brand further the channel is extending its roadshows involving screening of movies, as part of on-ground marketing initiatives this year to 10 cities which also include non-metro centres like Chandigarh and Cochin. The 28 movies that AXN will screen over seven days include Gladiator, Nighthawk, the two Mission Impossible films with Tom Cruise and some Jackie Chan movies. Efforts are also on to get some action-oriented Hindi films like Aawara Paagal Deewana also to be screened as part of the festival.

Assistant V-P (marketing and sales-AXN) of SET India Rohit Bhandari said SET distributed and took care of marketing and sales of AXN in India.

A brand evaluation, which took place sometime last year, highlighted that though the popularity of AXN channel is high, the perception and clarity about the channel's image was a "bit fudgy", Ho said.

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