AXN goes Bollywood in attempt to boost viewer connect

MUMBAI: If there is one medium that travels really well across the country other than cricket, it is Bollywood. The action oriented AXN which over the past few years has done on ground events to connect closer with viewers will do a Bollywood themed event over the summer season.

The channel is organising the AXN Action Awards in June. This is a show that seeks to reward action stars and films in Bollywood. Speaking to on this initiative AXN South Asia director Rohit Bhandari says, ?We have five competitive categories and one open category for the awards. The five categories are Best Actor, Best Actor in a Negative Role, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Stunt Sequence with Life Time Achievement being the open category.

?We will be short listing nominees for each of the competitive categories and viewers will have to vote in for their favourites. The voting can be done through sms, online and though a paper ballot. The voting process is on from 1 to 31 May 2006. Later a show will be held, which will be hosted by Dino Morea,? he added.

Bhandari points out that action has always been integral part of Hindi cinema which is popularly referred to as Bollywood. ?Almost every movie has some scene that depicts action in some form and over the last two decades, there have been movies which have been categorised as purely as action movies. Also, in most of the awards given out to movies, action is always a sub category or is part of the technical category.?

?Given AXN's association with action and adventure, we have created India's first award that will honour the action genre of Bollywood, through the AXN Action Awards. Thums Up is the presenting sponsor given the great brand fit that it has with action as a genre for the first ever AXN Action Awards. Scorpio is the associate sponsor,? he said.

When asked about marketing activities that will be done to create awareness, Bhandari says that given the synergies that both AXN and Thums Up have with action and adventure, the two parties will be taking the concept to the ground in the form of road shows in nine markets across India. The aim is to give consumers a first hand experience of both the brands AXN and Thums Up. People will also have an opportunity to cast their votes for the above categories, through a paper ballot.

When asked whether this effort would be start of an association between Bollywood and AXN Bhandari says that given the fact that most of the viewers in India connect with Bollywood, the channel made it a Bollywood based award concept. ?Since this is the first year, we will be taking our learnings from the same and working towards improving the concept and who knows, next year, we may also include a section for Hollywood movies. We think the concept is robust enough to embrace both the film industries and hence, scaling the awards accordingly.?

On ideas for other local shows Bhandari says, ?There are quite a few ideas on the table, but they are still in the concept stage. We have aggressive plans over the next few months with both acquired and local content.

?The Man's World show was our first show in the Mens Lifestyle space and we are very happy with the results that we had for season one, which ended on 19 April. We will be resting the show for a while, as we would like to refresh the concept and come back later in the year with some improvements to the original concept.?

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