Ratings: Star Movies maintains edge over HBO; Discovery gains ground

MUMBAI: The English entertainment scene has been undergoing a few changes. Until recently HBO was off the air waves in Mumbai for several weeks. Arch rival Star Movies continues to be off air.

Tam data SEC A,B 15+ has thrown up some interesting findings. The period is 1 September - 1 November 2006.

At an all India level Tam data shows that Star Movies has seven of the top nine English films. Creature features and martial arts films not surprisingly continue to do well. King Kong and The Way Of The Dragon on Star Movies got TVRs of 0.34 and 0.31. Enter The Dragon on HBO got a TVR of 0.31.

Data also shows that the blackout in Mumbai benefitted Pix and Zee Studio. When you just look at the six Metros Pix has two films in the top 10. At number three it has Bicentennial Man which got a TVR of 0.38. Men In Black rated 0.3. This shows two things. Firstly Mumbai is a very important market for English films. Secondly it lays some credence to Pix's philosophy that if one has films with good stories no matter when they were made viewers will watch them. Interestingly none of the films in the top 10 whether one looks at the Metros or all India are premieres. Zee Studio also figures in the top 10 at the metro level. It got a TVR of 0.29 for Shaolin Temple.

If you look at primetime shares 8-11 pm for all the English channels - movies, general entertainment, infotainment one sees that Star Movies and HBO's shares have gone down partly due to the Mumbai blackout. Star Movies for the period last year had a share of 23. Now it has a share of 17 for all India and 16 for the six Metros. HBO's share has gone down from 18 per cent to 13 per cent at an all India level. For six Metros there has been a fall from 17 per cent to 11 per cent.

Pix though it launched recently is neck and neck with Zee Studio. Zee Studio it must be pointed out has doubled its share from three last year to six per cent. Pix does better than Zee Studio when one looks at the Metros. It has a share of eight. At an all India level it has a share of four per cent.

The biggest gainer by far is Discovery. At the all India level it has a share of 18 per cent versus 14 per cent for the same period last year. This is the most for any channel. At a Metro level it has a share of 16 per cent versus 10 per cent last year. Discovery's gain would appear to be arch rival National Geographic Channel's (NGC) loss. Last year for the period NGC's share was 14 per cent for the six Metros. This time it is eight per cent. Discovery Travel and Living's (DTL) share has also gone down from seven per cent to five per cent. At the all India level the shares of NGC and DTL are flat at 13 per cent and four per cent respectively. Animal Planet's share has also stayed the same at eight per cent for the Metros and 10 per cent for all India.

The History Channel had undergone a repositioning. It is now an entertainment channel with the tagline Live The Story. It shows films, miniseries etc. However its share has only grown marginally from four per cent at an all India level to five per cent. In the Metros its share is flat at three per cent. Its share is comparable to Star World with whom it is now looking to compete for both ad revenues and viewership. Star World has a share of three per cent all India and five per cent in the metros.

Zee Cafe has shown some improvement. Its share grew from one per cent last year to three per cent this year for the Metros and two per cent at an all India level. The English general entertainment channels all have some work to do to catch up with AXN. The action oriented broadcaster has held steady with shares of nine and 10 per cent at an all India and the six Metro level respectively. No doubt initiatives like the ongoing Amazing Race Asia help viewers to keep going back.

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