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The year of big movie acquisitions

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By Neeraj Vyas

If we were to reflect on the landmark moments of 2013, we could proudly say that it has been an impactful year with many highs. To start off, Indian Cinema celebrated 100 years of diverse and distinctive movies. It is a momentous occasion for the world’s largest producer of feature films with over 1200 releases a year in more than 25 languages. The casts got bigger, the designing of the film got more glamorous, the locations more exotic and the technical values are at par with anywhere else in the world.  

On the flip side, most of this additional cost was passed on the broadcaster and acquisitions became hugely expensive. Surprisingly, these high costs have not deterred many broadcasters from acquiring big banner films at pre-production stage even though it is almost impossible to gauge how well the film will be received by television audiences. In future, movie deals will probably be governed by the revenue generated at the box office.

On the digital front too, the channel focused on building its brand equity and connect, apart from trying to keep strengthening the positioning of the brand.With competition within channels heating up to garner maximum viewership, the stakes attached to such upmarket films has evolved to be much more complicated than it has been in previous years. Marketing budgets for the television premiers of these films is something which has seen a huge increase with each channel upping the level of spends and trying to be distinctively innovative with each premier. For Aashiqui 2, the biggest romantic musical of the year, at MAX, we raised the bar for marketing innovations across all mediums of communication. The channel engaged with its viewers across all platforms – print, online and outdoors raising to a crescendo with the stars of the movie engaging with some lucky viewers thereby creating a much required stickiness for the brand. The main aim was to attract fresh viewers and entice older ones to watch the film again.

The digital space is constantly evolving and our endeavour is to customise everything we do on the digital platform. Some of the innovations on the social platform were the IPL Jhumping Jhapak app. Also, MAX was the first Hindi movie channel to integrate live tweets on Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

From an overall industry perspective, I feel the highpoint was the rollout of digitisation across the country in phases. Although much delayed and slower than anticipated, it opened out a whole new opportunity for channels to increase shelf space. The proposed ad cap pushed many networks to launch new channels to adequately maximise their inventory supply. At MAX, our focus was to consciously deliver better films and energise the brand to engage with our loyal viewers.  

Looking forward, the film channels will also need to re-evaluate the way advertising is sold so that the true value is gained in return for the delivery of this product to large chunks of audiences.

(Neeraj Vyas is senior VP and business head, Sony Max. The views expressed in the above article are the author's personal views)

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