Television

English movie channels will have to battle for reach

The fight for audience attention in the English movie genre is getting fierce as fresh competition arrived with the launch in February of World Movies from UTV. Market leaders Star Movies and HBO built their strategy on blockbuster content during the first half of the year. Pix carried out localisation initiatives while Zee Studio added more titles to provide "refreshing" content.

Industry trackers say the genre, pegged at Rs 1.7 billion last year, is expected to grow by 15 per cent this year. New channels will expand the market even as Star Movies and HBO continue to dominate the genre.

Tam data (C&S15+ six Metros) shows that while Star Movies has a viewership share of 36 per cent during the period 1 January to 30 June 2008, HBO is nipping at its heels with a 33 per cent share.

The gap was wider for the same period last year. While Star Movies pocketed a 43 per cent share, HBO's stood at 29 per cent.

Pix's share, on the other hand, has stayed steady at 17 per cent while Zee Studio has a share of seven per cent this year. World Movies which launched in February, has a six per cent share.

Star Movies has 12 films in the top 20 ranking, while HBO has eight of its films in the list. The titles are a mix of action and martial arts films that are easy to relate with like Commando, Rob B Hood, Superman Returns and Enter The Dragon.

Says Star India VP marketing and communications Prem Kamath, "The highlights of Star Movies' performance included The X Men trilogy festival. We continued to bring in big properties like Oscars and blockbusters like Last King of Scotland, Night at the Museum, Little Miss Sunshine. The channel also focussed on consolidating its existing brands Friday Night Premiere and Movie of the Month to consistently build big properties and provide a better viewing experience."

Star Movies has also added variety to its content. A case in point: VIP Access, which features forthcoming theatrical releases. There are a few other things planned in this area, adds Kamath.

And what of arch rival HBO? The channel's mantra of 'Big, New, Most' has helped it gain ground. The programming has been a mix of blockbusters like Superman Returns, critically acclaimed films like Munich and original shows like Entourage, the third season of which has just kicked off.

HBO South Asia country manager Shruti Bajpai says, "What is also important is our focus on entertaining themes. These are conceptualised for the channel every month. They attack different TGs and advertisers." Some examples of these are HBO Animation Fest, Mad About Diamonds, Fast Cars and Gorgeous Babes, HBO Earth Day.

Also playing a role are tentpole events. "We did a 'Hollywood's Best' initiative which featured Oscar nominated/winning movies. We also had 'HBO is Summer' during May and June, which featured Summer of 60 Nights. Here, a blockbuster movie was shown every night. There are also mini-stunts under this umbrella like 'Entrapment', 'Martial Arts Specialists 'Codename: SuperKids' etc. All these have resounded with our target audience," says Bajpai.

As part of its expansion strategy, HBO bought out the stakes of the partners in the joint venture in Asia except Paramount. And to have access to the big studios, it continued to maintain exclusive licensing arrangements with Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and Paramount/ Dreamworks.

Pix's boat rocked steady in the ratings game, holding third spot in the English movie genre space. During the year, Pix carried out its local initiative Gateway in association with Ashok Amritraj. This has helped boost the profile and reach of the channel.

Says Pix business head Sunder Aaron, "We delivered on our promise of being a Hollywood film channel that would localise in some ways. The winner Bejoy Nambiar heads to Los Angeles. He goes through a two-month boot camp under the tutelage of Ashok Amritraj. After that he goes into a project which is already under production."

Pix's content strategy is to stick to its basic tenet of telling great stories. Pix also has slots for different genres like thrillers and dramas.

Aaron says the late night slot is gaining viewership. Even the Sunday afternoon slot has grown. "Going forward, Pix will focus on strengthening the afternoon band," Aaron adds.

The year also saw the launch of World Movies in February. Armed with 650 movies, UTV Entertainment Television COO Dilshad Master says the initial response has been good. "Our research at the time of launch showed that language would not be a barrier for our audience. This has proven to be the case. We have also chosen films correctly. They need to have global appeal and also be contemporary in nature."

Targeting Sec A, one of the key slots for the channel is Platinum Collection. The segment focuses on high profile award winning films from around the world, boasting of titles like The Counterfeiters from Austria (the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film this year), Twilight Samurai from Japan, Zelary from Czech Republic, and Hidden Blade from Japan. It has also got thematic slots for comedies, thrillers, etc.

The channel will also create a Friday Premiere slot later this month.

To add variety, World Movies covered the Cannes film festival in-depth with the initiative 'Cannes Calling.' It is now looking at doing something around the upcoming Toronto Film Festival. "We will launch our home video division in the coming months. We will also focus on the strategy of releasing films into cinema halls. Having said that, the core of our business will be the television channel," adds Master. 



One of the challenges for this genre is to build reach. While distribution in the metros is in place, there is an audience in the smaller cities that is not being tapped sufficiently enough because of availability issues of the channel. "The reach and relevance of English movie channels has to increase," notes Aaron.

As the market evolves one can only expect increased competition and fragmentation. Says Kamath, "Each player will not only try to stay ahead of the game, but also maintain an effective cost structure. However the game will always remain to be driven by the titles shown on the channels."

Mindshare's Amin Lakhani agrees with the fact that a lot depends on titles. "Star Movies has held fort while HBO has picked up the pace this year. Both these channels do good stuff around their films. Zee Studio has tried a lot of things like refreshing their line up with more titles. However they have struggled as far as numbers delivery is concerned. The world cinema genre will grow steadily. It is bringing a new experience to the viewers. However it is mainly the elite who will tune in to this due to the subtitles," opines Lakhani.

Channels with compelling and consistently 'winning' content will continue to flourish while the others will just about manage to survive at the periphery.

Says Bajpai, "A larger Indian audience than ever before is viewing Hollywood movies and the appetite for such content seems to be increasing. Breaking through the clutter and being able to hold on to the attention of the audience, which is usually short due to the ample choices available, will be a rising phenomena in this category."

Rank Channel Film Rating
1 Star Movies Commando 0.37
2 Star Movies Rob B Hood 0.29
3 HBO Enter The Dragon 0.28
4 Star Movies The Breed 0.27
5 HBO Mr. Bean's Holiday 0.27
6 Star Movies Predator 0.26
7 Star Movies Night At The Museum 0.26
8 Star Movies Tremors 0.25
9 Star Movies Rang De Basanti 0.25
10 HBO Superman Returns 0.25
11 Star Movies Winners and Sinners 0.24
12 Star Movies Pirates of the Carribean 0.24
13 Star Movies The Mummy Returns 0.24
14 HBO The Mummy 0.24
15 HBO Ghost Rider 0.24
16 HBO Son Of The Mask 0.24
17 Star Movies Spy Kids 0.22
18 Star Movies Tom Yum Goong 0.22
19 HBO King Kong 0.22
20 HBO The Mask 0.22
Source: Tam c&s 15+ Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/inside%20%281%29.jpg?itok=k6O4gL4H
Hindi GEC: Star Plus reclaims top urban slot & Zee Anmol retains lead in two markets

In the Hindi GEC genre this week, Star Plus has reclaimed its top slot and Zee Anmol has retained its leadership in two markets -- Hindi GEC (rural plus urban) and Hindi GEC - rural, according to BARC India all-India week 32 data.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/pkl.jpg?itok=o_f2tEkX
PKL rural telecast exceptionally propels Star Sports First to top

Star Sports First, primarily on the strength of PKL viewership in urban as well as rural areas, has again retained its lead with almost double the ratings as compared to BARC week 32's second position-holder.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/viwer.jpg?itok=sSGbkCn6
Times Now narrows gap with Republic TV, again

Over the last few weeks, a see-saw ratings battle is on between the two of the leading Indian English news channels - the Arnab Goswami-led Republic TV that has held a pole position for over a quarter of a year since its launch, and its nearest competitor and the ratings king it dethroned - Times...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/ss_0.jpg?itok=BLplwPWV
English Ent.: MNX leads & Zee Cafe retains top slot with significant drop

Times rebranding gamble seems to have paid off. Three weeks after Movies Now 2 was rechristened as MNX, it topped the weekly viewership chart of BARC India's latest all-India data.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/love-aur-dhokha.jpg?itok=HtkxcIii
ABP News' 'Love aur Dhokha' revisits 6 untimely deaths

The film and television industry, while well known and envied for its glamour and lifestyle, has also had its fair share of tragedies over the years. Tragedies which took away some of the brightest and most promising stars of the industry and left behind a plethora of questions about what happened...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/Brett_Hogg.jpg?itok=kxEwzszH
Sony moves ahead with own distributors in four SE Asian countries post Spider-Man's success

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Entertainment is reportedly planning to launch distributors of its own in four countries after terminating a longstanding theatrical-releasing joint venture with Disney in Southeast Asia. Sony has plans to launch Sony Pictures Releasing units in Singapore, Thailand, and...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/Under_Pressure.jpg?itok=ktiPA_qp
Globo's 'Under Pressure’ to air at Toronto Festival

MUMBAI: The Globo series ‘Under Pressure’ will make its international debut during the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival – a renowned film festival held between September 7 and 17 in Toronto, Canada. The first two episodes will be aired at the third edition of Primetime –...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/Untitled-1.jpg?itok=gINbzA77
Guest Column: 3 drivers lending power to create impact in Indian TV industry

The Indian Media & Entertainment industry is categorised across nine segments of which Television by far is the largest and is expected to be the largest in the next couple of years. India is the second largest Television market in the world characterised by rising number of subscribers.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/18/Shashi_Shekhar.jpg?itok=jsoV7C8g
Doordarshan has to upgrade but remain rooted, says Prasar CEO

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati has stressed the need to look at Doordarshan as a brand which is relevant and appeals to all age-groups. He said it should become a ‘mass brand that becomes an integral part’ of the life of every Indian.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories