Movies Now, Romedy Now on growth trajectory; ups ad rates

MUMBAI: The English movie and general entertainment channels? genre is a fragmented space, where ranks keep changing every now and then. In order to maintain their position well above competition, channels adopt various strategies. Two such channels from the Times Television Network (TTN) are Movies Now and Romedy Now. While last year, the channels dipped to the number four position in the genre, the two have recently tasted some success.

Speaking to, Times Television Network senior vice president and English Entertainment cluster head Vivek Srivastava says that both the channels have been at the number one position during the last 18 to 20 weeks. ?Smart acquisitions, smart scheduling and smart segmenting has been our success mantra,? claims Srivastava.

When queried on how the channel increased its market share, Srivastava says that they first identified the weakness, which were poor distribution and lack of exclusive content. 

?Firstly, the channels had not been distributed optimally. We plugged the leak by going city to city and getting the channels distributed on platforms targeting one cable operator after another. Secondly, on the content front, Movies Now lacked premieres. To cope with this, we signed strong output deals with studios like NBC and Sony,? informs Srivastava.

The Bones series, Harry Potter series and the Battleship are some franchises that has worked well for Movies Now. The channel now aims to have one big movie premiere in a month. While Movies Now currently has 20 per cent market share, Romedy Now stands at 28 per cent, informs Srivastava.

Romedy Now showcases English shows as well as movies. ?It?s been one and a half years since Romedy Now was launched and the channel has been number one in the genre. We realised there is space for segmentation and the channel is a segmentation success,? opines Srivastava.

The channel has seen tremendous repeat value from the popular series F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and the movie P.S. - I Love You. ?Instead of simply deciding to put up a show on the channel, we follow mood segmentation where content that fits the happy and romance sphere is aired. The channel sees a good response during the 7.30 - 9 pm slot during weekdays,? says Srivastava.

However, while on the one hand, the network has decided to discontinue the Romedy Now HD channel as it did not perform as per expectations, on the other it has pinned high hopes on its new baby Movies Now+, which is the HD version of the channel. Srivastava informs that the channel is available on all HD platforms and has certain content lineup that is different from the SD feed. TTN will simulcast The Wolf Of Wall Street on Movies Now and Movies Now+ soon.

To cope with viewership fluctuations during the upcoming Indian Premiere League (IPL), the network will premiere a big ticket movie right in the middle of the IPL timetable. It will be simulcast on the two movie channels. Apparently the channels see a viewers dip by 15 to 20 per cent during IPL.

Realising that the channels have regained their lost market share, TTN has also decided to hike its advertising rates.

The network will be leveraging the muscle provided by its mother company - The Times Group - that has newspapers, radio, OOH, broadcast network and Internet companies under its umbrella, to help build its marketing campaign this year.

The English movie viewership for the channels mainly comes from the eight metros and is also seeing a strong viewership pattern from one million plus towns. Moreover, the 1 pm afternoon slot is the second most important slot for the channel after the primetime. It is 15 to 24 year olds who mainly contribute towards the 1 pm slot.

Outlining the challenges ahead for the channel, Srivastava lists three major factors. ?First is the completion of digitisation and how it shapes up. This would ensure that the channel gets its required reach. Secondly, packaging of the content is a major challenge and we will be addressing that issue in the coming months. Finally, measurability is a key challenge. In the existing scenario, we feel that we are not represented as we should have been. We are hoping BARC should give us the depth that is needed,? he says.

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