Television

Zee Cinema remains top of the heap; Filmy up

Indian television‘s Hindi movie channels (HMCs) are no more playing second fiddle to the big brother general entertainment channels (GECs).Since 2005, the space has been witnessing a lot of interesting trends - be it innovations, strategy changes or experiments.

The introduction of Sahara One Media and Entertainment‘s Filmy in the space has given a new dimension to the goings on as the channel‘s unconventional approach to movie programming won it good returns. In this context, Indiantelevision.com thought it would be worth analysing how the channels fared during the third quarter of the 2006 calendar year (based on Tam CS4+ HSM ratings).

We have two sets of market share data in front of us. One is the average channel share data spread over the period of 12 February to 29 July and this almost covers the first and second quarters of the 2006 calendar year. As per the data, Zee Cinema is leading the line up with a channel share of 35 per cent, closely followed by Max at 32 per cent. Star Gold come in third with 25 per cent, followed by newcomer Filmy with 7 per cent. The B4U Movies‘ picture is a dismal one with just 1 per cent of viewing audiences.

Moving in to the Q3 period of July to September, Zee Cinema has further increased its average market share - from 35 per cent to 36.7 per cent. Max, however, shows a slip, shedding about 2 per cent to stand at 30.2 per cent during this period. Star Gold also tells a similar story with the channel‘s average share down to 22.4 per cent. Filmy, on the other hand, has improved its position from 7 per cent to an impressive 9.5 per cent, while B4U Movies has also shown some positive traction to reach 1.3 per cent share.

According to Zee Cinema programming head Mohan Gopinath, Zee Cinema could maintain its growth momentum by concentrating on three factors: movies that work, strategic scheduling and the brand power that Zee Cinema enjoys. Except for Garam Masala, the channel didn‘t have any big ticket premiere for the period and still there hadn‘t been a drag.

Explains Gopinath, "The movies which have done the trick for us during this period are mainly Garam Masala, Waah Life Ho To Aisi and then a Rajnikant movie premiere. So the plan has always been to schedule effective movies on a strategic basis and then push the properties with the kind of brand power the channel enjoys. The innovation of break content has also helped the channel to deliver. The Amitabh movie band Shaniwar ki Raat Amitabh Ke Saath has played a key role in sustaining the good performance. We are now celebrating the completion of 100 weeks of Shaniwaar Ki Raat."

For Filmy, meanwhile, the period has been hectic with experiments, attempted innovations and trial and error runs. The channel, which created a buzz in the market during its initial phase with big movies, wrap-around programming and heavy marketing, spent the July to September period by unveiling some innovative property launches and attempting a re-look at certain programming aspects. The period saw the channel unveiling the concept of a stock exchange based interactive TV game Filmy Stock Exchange.

Filmy marketing and content head Shailesh Kapoor feels Filmy‘s unconventional approach to movie programming proved successful in the market.

"We could get a good opening and as more and more people started sampling the channel, it reflected in numbers as well. We made our best efforts to bring more variety, be it in our promotional campaigns or movie properties. Our attempt has been to give a complete Indian twist to television‘s movie-viewing habit. Our refreshing image makes the viewer come back and this has been the key to our success," says Kapoor.

Though Star Gold and Max had lined up some impressive movies during this period, the impact of Filmy and the superiority of Zee Cinema as a brand resisted their surge in the rating charts. As the data reveals, the market hasn‘t got an expansion during this period as such, but Zee Cinema and Filmy have actually eaten into the shares of Max and Gold.

Cricket is expected to drive the fourth quarter for Max and rival channels are strategising their moves to counter Max on this front. Star Gold has lined up the big premiere of Rang De Basanti for the Diwali phase. Filmy is unveiling its Hollywood dubbed movie segment Firangi Filmy in the same period. The channel has also announced plans to conduct a contest based on the stock exchange game to promote the premiere of Malamaal Weekly on the channel.

Zee Cinema introduced its youth block Klub, well ahead of Diwali and one of the movies it has lined up for Diwali premiere is the Salman-starrer Kyunki..

When queried on the chances of Max stealing the show in the fourth quarter with a heavy doze of cricket content, Gopinath says cricket can never substitute movies as a mode of entertainment. "Movies and cricket are different in terms of TV programming. Both have their own USP. For a pure movie lover, cricket is completely another genre. We are confident that, this particular segment will witness our Q4 growth."

"Our target is to achieve about 14 per cent channel share by the end of 2006. We have taken into account cricket as a challenge and will be dealing with this issue by resorting to some smart scheduling of movies," says Kapoor.

 

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