Spiderman rockets HBO to the top

MUMBAI: After The Mummy it is the turn of the caped figure Spiderman to bring in a ratings bonanza for HBO. Quoting TAM data the channel has stated that Spiderman gave it a spot in the top 100.

For the week starting 25 January 2004, the film had a rating of 2.95 in the 15-44 age group SEC A,B in the six metros. It was placed at number 81 higher than Zee Cinema's Chalte Chalte, which was four spots lower down. For all India it got a rating of 2.25. This was the highest rating for any English film from Jan 2003- Jan 2004. Moreover for the same audience HBO also claimed to have had more absolute channel share that anybody else including Star Plus and SET when Spiderman aired on 30 January. HBO's share was 11.29, Star Plus' was 8.88 while SET's was 7.32. Among the English movie channels it had a share of 89 per cent.

On a not so positive note, this writer was put off by the frequent blockages in the transmission. However speaking to HBO India, South Asia country manager Shruti Bajpai said that this only affected parts of Mumbai and Delhi and could have been from the cable operator's end or due to a solar disturbance. "The problem was localised." She reiterated that there was no problem from HBO's side.

Asked to comment on the data that Star Movies had recently put out claiming that it was number one for the past two years Bajpai said that from Jan 2003-Jan 2004 all India SEC A, B 15-44 HBO had 10 of the top 15 movies. "When this is the case how can they claim otherwise? For us however it is a good thing that a channel that has been established for many years feels so threatened by an upstart that they take the trouble to come out with a report."

When asked whether The Big One would be a monthly feature on the channel as is the case in other Asian countries Bajpai replied in the negative. A Big One will happen every two to three months. So the next one would happen in the April-May period. Asked what films one could expect in the future she dropped names like Eminem's debut film 8 Mile which was banned in India by the censor board, the caper film Ocean's 11, The Lord Of the Rings and Ridley Scott's war film Black Hawk Down.

On the contest front, Bajpai said that the Spiderman contest which was run during the film got 85,000 responses. Bajpai confirmed that another home grown series would be brought in later this year but refused to divulge further details saying that the decision had not yet been taken as to which one was going to be chosen.

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