Television

Pix looks to grow further through original content

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MUMBAI: It has been a little over four months since Sony's English movie channel Pix went on air. The channel positions itself as being different from the competition by airing films which tell a good story, regardless of when they were made.

In July, to add variety the channel launched the interview based show Inside The Actors Studio. Now it is looking at putting out original content.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Pix business head Sunder Aaron says, "We are looking to have two, perhaps three shows of our own on air some time after the Diwali festival. We are looking at talk shows and other concepts. It could be Bollywood stars talking about their favourite Hollywood films. We are also looking at a show that examines current trends in film, both in India and abroad.

"We are also looking to do reviews of current films. In the future we will acquire films from independent and medium sized studios. Our main focus is on whether a film tells a strong story. After all, a big budget, big name stars, costly visual effects do not necessarily make for a great film."

Aaron also claims that in terms of GRPs and reach Pix is ahead of Zee Studio. "There is still room for improvement here though. We have received an encouraging response from cities like Bangalore and Chennai." Not surprisingly, information available with Indiantelevision.com indicates that Pix had to pay carriage fee to cable operators so as to ensure that the channel had adequate visbility among viewers.

Says Aaron, "We will now go out to the market and target media agencies to advertise on Pix. We waited to establish our distribution as well as viewership. Our audience is not the teenager who likes flashy blockbusters.

"It focusses on the discerning viewer. While our TG is 15-44, time will tell whether our channel attracts an older set of viewers (25+) compared to the competition."

Pix has also rolled out a marketing campaign which is in the form of among other aspect hoardings. It is being done in the six metros. The message is that the channel watches many movies before handpicking a few for the viewer. The aim is to convey the message that a lot of thought goes into choosing films for that select audience that wants and expects only the best. There are also radio spots. Pix also has a presence in multiplexes in the form of slides and a radio programme. Pix also has an on-air competition. Viewers can answer simple questions by sending an SMS to 2525.

When asked whether Pix is becoming associated with nostalgia, Aaron said that while that may partly be the case, people watch it and stay with it for the stories. "When we brought actor Will Smith down for the launch of the channel, he said that it was Pix's commitment to storytelling that attracted him to it. He felt that there was a need on the part of Hollywood to get back to the basics of solid storytelling. Perosnally, I am happy to see that this is the case. The films that were nominated for the best picture Oscar this year all had strong stories."

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