Television

Filmy promises different menu for movie buffs, launches 26 January

MUMBAI: “Ma Kasam Filmy Hai!” Believe it or not, that’s the tag line of the new baby from the Sahara One stable – Filmy, which is due to launch on 26 January.

The channel name will not have ‘Sahara One’ as a prefix as is in the case of the other Sahara channels and will be launched as ‘Filmy’.

While channel officials were tight lipped about any developments, information available with Indiantelevision.com indicates that, post launch, a 'Filmy Yatra will do the rounds of eight–10 cities across India with certain celebrities who will be the faces of the channel. The aim: To generate awareness around Filmy’s launch.

Hindi film actor Chunky Pandey and Vinay Pathak (of the Channel [V] Ranvir-Vinay duo) are two of the faces that the channel will sport.

On the programming front, the channel aims to redefine the way cinema is consumed on television. Filmy will deliver movie content in an exciting fun-filled way. It will not just be airing back to back movies but has a few shows lined up wherein the channel is trying to package movies into anchored shows. "The aim will be to try and showcase movies in a better way with a lot of cheek and lightheartedness, rather than just telecasting the movie," says an industry source.

Filmy will be taking on channels like Zee Cinema, Max and Star Gold head-on, which will be quite a challenge. Last year, Star India COO Sameer Nair launched an initiative to give a push to Star Gold to make it the number one Hindi movie channel.

As a first step, movies in the weekend slot on Star Plus were taken off and pushed on to Star Gold.The initiative got an added impetus when Star India signed a deal with Sahara One last year for satellite broadcasting rights to 64 movies for limited telecasts between October 2005 to June 2007. The price Star, reportedly, paid for the movies: Rs 110 million.

This deal aside, Sahara One does have a bunch of big ticket movies under its belt, some of them being funded by another family company, Sahara One Motion Pictures.

It will be interesting to see Filmy’s strategy, especially when it will be taking on the likes of Zee Cinema, which has carved a niche for itself in the market. Max too has an advantage with rights to some hit Hindi movies of 2005 like Yash Raj movies’ Bunty Aur Bubbly, Salaam Namaste and Neal and Nikki. Not to mention the big daddy of entertainment in India --- cricket in the form of ICC’s Champions Trophy later this year. Max is a channel that has woven a success tale with an unusual combination of movies and cricket.

With increasing fragmentation happening in the cable TV market, one problem that movie channels are facing is that while they enjoy a channel share of 12 per cent, their revenue share is only six per cent.

With increasing competition and a race to outdo competition, movie acquisition costs went up by almost 30 per cent last year. Now, with another player in the market, that figure is likely to rise even further.

In such a scenario, Filmy is aspiring to be a channel that will appeal to the urban audience. Traditionally, Hindi movie channels cater to the lower SECs unless it involves big ticket titles like Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham or Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, which draw in more urban viewers.

A pertinent question that comes to mind is: where and how is Filmy going to position itself amongst a host of movie channels? To use a cliché, only time will tell.

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