MNX challenges legacy players in the movies category

Vivek Srivastava estimates the English entertainment genre to grow by 15-20 per cent this year

MUMBAI: The rise in India’s urban educated millennials has also led to the spurt of channels in the English entertainment and movies genre. Over the last few years, several new additions have made their way including MN+, &Prive and Sony Le Plex.

In this space, Times Network has found the right set of audience for all four channels claims Times Network EVP and head English entertainment cluster Vivek Srivastava. He is aware that beating a legacy player is not an easy task. The channel says it has been head and shoulders above HBO in six metro markets.

The group has close to 1500 titles and 25-30 shows for its movies channels. The content comes from four major production houses like Disney, MGM, NBC and Warner which are long term deals. The network holds the second output of NBC after Sony Pictures Network.

English cluster of Sony Pictures Network, on the other hand, picks up the content from Disney, Warner Bros, NBC Universal, Lionsgate and PVR Pictures. &Prive and &Flix of Zeel also have a bigger library with exclusive titles sourced from many independent Hollywood players and studios such as Paramount and PVR.

According to week 32 of BARC data in the six metros, Times Network has two of its flagship channels, Movies Now and MNX, in the top five list. Movies Now is going to be an eight year old brand in December 2018 and is a home for all the blockbusters. On the other hand, MNX, the youngest channel in its English movies portfolio has been consistent in ratings since its launch in July 2017. The company endeavours to broaden the audience base to be in the top five list.

“The quarter is gone by and the revenue of MNX is extremely healthy. MNX actually completes the portfolio. We have a family brand as Romedy Now, a sophisticated brand in MN+, Movies Now is the flagship brand that houses the superhero franchise. All the blockbusters will find a space on the channel. MNX being the youngest brand in the mix, it caters to all audiences and all the various titles get a space on this channel,” Srivastava adds.

In the last two-three years, the Indian audience has evolved and become smarter and knows what to expect. “In this context, the marketing has become a lot easier as the consumer knows the content very well,” he adds. In FY19 Q1, the network got brands like Amazon, Pepsi, Airtel, Trivago, Ford, Flipkart, PhonePe, Myntra to name a few, for all its English movies and entertainment channels.

As far as the category is concerned in terms of revenue, Srivastava estimates the genre to grow by 15-20 per cent more than the previous year’s figure which was Rs 700 crore.

On the content acquisition cost, Srivastava points, “There is a little bit of correction expected in the content acquisition cost as we move forward. The correction will come on account of two things - revenue growth across years in the genre and secondly the evolution of business models as some broadcasters are sharing their first output windows with SVOD players."

HD is the next array of growth as far as the category is concerned. According to Srivastava, there are only two genres which drive HD viewership, sports and movies. MN+ is an HD-only channel which is performing well, both from a viewership and revenue standpoint.

He gives out the formula for a successful channel as: “To sustain in the category with more than two channels, you should be able to provide fresh content to your target audience. Until and unless you have a distinct identity to the channel it will never succeed.”

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