Unstoppable: Zee Cinema on a roll

MUMBAI: It's a challenge, 'Rok Sako Toh Rok Lo'. Touted as India's only Hindi movie channel, Zee Cinema has an action plan readied for the year ahead.

After signing on FCB Ulka as its advertising agency, the first agenda is to give its viewers value for money.

The channel will soon unveil the next big programming initiative, 'Rok Sako Toh Rok Lo', movie band with just one break, complete with a big marketing and advertising push.



For starters, black boxes greeted advertising and media professionals on Monday morning. Unlike the usual gifts the box just had a small letter and a urine collecting bag. Message to be conveyed, 'everything else can wait but the movie can't.'

Aren't they a bit slow off the blocks since Sony's MAX was the first to introduce the conscept with their Sunday Mera Movie? "We had conceived the idea way back in January but we had planned to launch it in March. Just because MAX went ahead before us, doesn't mean we cancel our plans," offered Zee Cinema assistant vice president (marketing) Prakash Ramchandani. It is a similar gamble alright, but what is different is that the stakes are higher. Zee Cinema's one break movie is a once a fortnight event, aired on alternate Sundays at 9 pm prime time.

The one break innovation kicks off with the action thriller The Hero - Love Story Of A Spy on Sunday, 14 March and the next movie is Humraaz on Sunday 28 March.

Everything else can wait, incase of an emergency use this... says Zee Cinema

Quite a far cry from Zee's prime movie band Thursday Premier, which has on average 15-20 ads breaks per movie. "We are an entertainment channel and viewers' interest is prime on our minds. Since the target audience for the Sunday night is the 25+ urban viewers, we had to keep their interest in mind. One break means that they can retire to bed earlier," says Ramchandani.

While the channel doesn't seem to be too bothered with the advertisers, Ramchandani did indicate that the ad spots for the five minute break will be sold at a premium rate. The channel isn't as ruffled by the fact that main competitor Sony has already bagged three of the six blockbuster hits of 2003.

Instead the channel is keen on promoting its existing fare with gusto. The channel seems to have already tasted success with the heavy duty promotions of its Valentine special band "Dil Deke Dekho". Despite being already aired on television more than 10 times, this decade old blockbuster of its time Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was the top movie for the week with TVR of 3.84. Despite the fact that it was pitted against 2002's surprise hit Jism on Star Plus it peaked with TVR of 8 in Hindi speaking markets, C&S 4 +.

While the status quo still remains that the movies will premier on Zee and later on Zee Cinema, the channel will be aggressively promoting the brand along with the special bands on the channel.

"With FCB Ulka in the picture, this year on the channel will debut fresher ideas and establishing the channel in the viewers mind. While the content on the channel is good, we are the only channel dedicated to Hindi cinema, what we aim to convey that through our advertising, marketing and promotions. Something that we haven't stressed on earlier, so there are a few more such promotional activities and surprise announcement coming your way," quips Ramchandani.

Well, bring it on.

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