Cinema Scope Channels have started using theatres as a vehicle to spread the message

It‘s sweet revenge time for cinema theatres across the country.

For long at the receiving end of cable piracy that weaned away the avid movie buff from the 70 mm screen, theatres suddenly find themselves wooed ardently by several television channels that are attempting to attract what they feel is their ‘niche audience‘. This time round, though, it seems the channels are not trying to entice the viewer out of the cinema hall and into the living room.

The effort, say executives of English language satellite channels like Hallmark, Star and Zee MGM is to reach out to the SEC A, B movie goer and make him aware of the delectable fare available on the channels. Outdoor, radio, print and Net - the media exhausted by the channels thus far have been unable to pin down the cream and the upper crust of society that niche channels like these are trying to woo.

Channels hope to garner a wider audience with promos on the silver screen. 

Hence, it is now the turn of the cinema theatre to air before and during the shows as well as in the foyers, advertisements for fare available for free in the home. Star Movies has been busy touting its blockbuster delights like the Oscar nominated The Sixth Sense which premiered last Friday. The channel also has plans up its sleeve to tie up with theatres for contests.

Not to be left behind, arch rival HBO is aggressively pushing its blockbuster for the year Gladiator which aired last Tuesday and the Home to Rome contest associated with the Russell Crowe starrer through ads. With Ten Sports‘ entry into the broadcasting scene earlier this year, things have started hotting up in this sector. In a bid to ensure channel loyalty among the upmarket sophisticated urbane viewer, ESS has been pushing its Legends of Cricket special as well as shows its brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar hosts on the channel not only through innovative spots but also through in-theatre hoardings which patrons of a particular cinema will not fail to miss as soon as they enter.

Hallmark, previously off the radar, has started to make major attempts at promoting its series, particularly those screened in the night. The channel in fact has been advertising in theatres since March this year. Screenings are taking place in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, mainly in cinemas screening English movies and Hindi movies which do well in metro cities (like Dil Chahta Hai). An estimated Rs 10 million have been set aside by the channel for the current year for promotions in theatres alone, a figure that most other channels too have earmarked for the newly discovered medium of cinema theatres.

Another broadcaster which so far maintained a low profile on this front is all set to get cracking. Zee recently appointed Cutting Edge Media to handle ad sales for its two English channels Zee English and Zee MGM. Says Cutting Edge‘s Rohinton Maloo: "We will start advertising in theatres some time in November-December. Screenings will take place in large and small theatres mainly airing English movies or at hip and happening multiplexes in the top eight metros." This initiative no doubt is in line with with Zee English‘s plans to acquire new properties before the year is through.

Ten Sports, which early on took to theatres in May this year when it launched with a World Cup splash by airing select matches live in certain theatres in the country, seems to have thought better of it now. The channel has no current plans of airing its promos in theatres, says the channel.


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