Indian channels in chase for the Oscar

With Hollywood?s biggest event, the 74th edition of the Academy Awards, drawing nearer, English movie and news channels are going out of their way to create awareness about their respective strategies. Ashwin Pinto files this report.

Lets start with Star Movies the only channel that has the rights to the live telecast. This will take place on 25 March at 6:30 am. With India?s Lagaan competing for the Best Foreign Film statuette, there is every chance of an improvement in show ratings.

The channel is using different sections of the media like print, radio, Internet etc to get the message across. The Star Network is also promoting the event on its other channels.

Telecast Producer for 74th Academy Awards Laura Ziski

Rival movie channel HBO is running the Oscar Marathon where the channel shows one Oscar winner and one Oscar nominee. HBO?s three point focus is range, quality and number of Oscar movies.

The channel has also tied up with Mid-Day (Mumbai?s leading afternoon tabloid) for a creative innovation involving crossword puzzles.

BBC World is concentrating on post ceremony coverage. The channel is getting viewers ready for the big night through the documentary series The Hollywood Years. BBC?s advertising campaign concerning the Oscars is running in cinemas throughout India this month.

BBC?s American counterpart CNN will keep viewers up to speed with latest happenings through its news programmes. This will take prominence on 25 March when viewers tuning in to World News will get a feel of the goings on.

The Kodak Theater, venue of the 74th Academy Awards

Let us now turn our attention to America where the show has been airing on ABC since 1976. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, ad time for the show has already been sold out. Although the rates have come down this year, the news is seen as a good sign for the ad industry, which has been struggling to cope with a recession, the report states. The going rate for a 30-second spot was $1.1-1.3 million down from $1.4 million last year.

One feature of the Oscars is that advertisers see the show as an opportunity to take advantage of female viewers. Among the companies that have bought up spots are MasterCard, Verizon, Mars and ING, among others. JC Penney has bought two 90-second spots, one of which will promote the retailer?s coming 100-year anniversary. One point to note is that American Express, which has been a regular advertiser on the show over the years, has reduced buying time to one minute from three minutes last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, last year?s show attracted viewership of 42.9 million, a fall from 46.3 million in 2000.

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