Treat for audience, brainstorm for movie channels

MUMBAI: The last month of 2006 will see a competition brainstorm happen amongst existing Hindi movie channels, with the audience having a delightful array of choices.

The Christmas and New Year initiatives will not just be a matter of the best box office movie but the strategy of playing it through to attract the maximum viewership.

Keeping in mind the holiday mood, SET Max has a two-week comedy festival named Kahaani Poori Comedy Hai lined up from 11 to 22 December. The festival will run through Monday to Friday in the afternoon slot and showcase movies like Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav, Badhai Ho Badhai, Satte Pe Satta and Chal Mere Bhai being telecast. For the primetime they have Tom Dick and Harry lined-up for 22 December.

As a part of its existing initiatives Maha Movies and Sunday Housefull, Max has acquired the telecast rights for Rohit Shetty's Golmaal and Subhash Ghai's 36 China Town respectively.

To cater to mass appeal and a wider audience Max has come up with a special programme called Hollywood Hungama Nite under which viewers would see dubbed Hindi versions of some major Hollywood titles like Men in Black - 2 slotted for 17 December, Stuart Little for 24 December and Godzilla for 31 December respectively in the primetime slot.

Commenting on the Hollywood initiative SET Max head of marketing T Gangadhar said, "We always want to offer the best mix of content to our audience. The titles that we have acquired have always been in the top 15 at the box office. Our focus for the line-up this month will be comedy centric."

While Max has acquired some big titles like Golmaal and set a comedy trend for the month , Sahara Filmy too has followed and acquired the rights for Khosla Ka Ghosla. Though a low-budget movie, it fared well at the box office and is slotted for a World TV Premiere on the 24 December.

Sahara Filmy head marketing and content Shailesh Kapoor said, " Since our distribution has improved in the past two months, we are currently consolidating on growth. We plan to increase and stabilise growth on air as well as off air."

As a part of the off-air promotions, Filmy has come up with Lallan Film Festival, with Sunil Grover in the character of Lallan. Filmy has also tied up with Ravi Chopra's Baabul for a dual on ground promotion of Lallan and film Baabul in various cities.

Like every year, Filmy has a three-part special set for the last week of December called Filmy Flashback which will look at all the good, bad, gossip and the biggest events that have been witnessed by the film industry over the past one year.

There is also a 2006 special opinion poll for December end called Filmy Person of the Year. It is a single category award and has the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bacchan, Hrithik Roshan and Himmesh Reshammiya as nominees.

Now Ajay Devgan and Arshad Warsi will have a straight competition with Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal with Zee Cinema acquiring the satellite rights for film Phir Hera Pheri as a Premiere of the Month on 24 December.

Zee Cinema head marketing and programming Mohan Gopinath said, "Our focus is mainly on Phir Hera Pheri which we have acquired for the premiere as its a festive season which comedy is best suited for."

From the basket of already existing movies with them, Zee Cinema would be showcasing Vaah Life Ho To Aisi as Christmas Klub Special and Amar Akbar Anthony as part of Shanivaar Ki Raat Amitabh Ke Saath.

With no blockbuster titles for New Year's eve, Zee cinema will wrap the year with a vertical all day long festival called Welcome 2007.

To compare with all, Star Gold hasn't acquired satellite rights for any new movie but is taking an old route that will be, celebrating Salman Khan's birthday, on 27 December with its initiative Reliance Mobile Jabardast Movie Mela. It will showcase some of Salman's movies like Hello Brother, Biwi No 1 and Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya.

Star Gold vice president marketing and communication Satya Raghavan said, "Jabardast Movie Mela is an initiative to celebrate a celebrities birthday in style so that the audience gets a good dose of their favourite celebs movies. We consciously go behind movies which set the trends and bring it alive on TV, just the way we did it for Rang De Basanti recently and would continue it in future."

Apart from movies, Star Gold has an opinion poll called Savlon Sabsey Favourite Kaun International 2006 which will run through last two days of December 2006 as a part of their New Year Special offer.

"Savlon SFKI is the only opinion poll in the world on Bollywood and depends solely on the consumers. Though we have been doing this for three years, this year we've gone International covering Middle East, South East Asia, US, UK, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia and New Zealand, keeping in mind the kind of appeal and fans bollywood has internationally," added Raghavan.

Hosted by actors Ranvir Shourey, Vinay Pathak and the likes, accompanied by Savlon SFKI ambassador Ayesha Takia. The show will air the Red Carpet and Grand Finale on the 30 December where the winners will be awarded. This will be followed by Favourites Zindabad on 31 December where the people from the industry will give their comments.

Though all the channels have set their best plans based on their strategies it is yet to be seen who attracts the maximum viewership.

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