MUMBAI: In the genre of English movies in India, nine players have been vying aggressively for a larger market share and online presence. One amongst these nine is Sony Pix. Read on about its efforts which include innovative micro properties on Facebook and giving out ‘money can’t buy merchandise.’
The channel has been following a three point strategy since 2012. Sony Pix and AXN EVP and business head Saurabh Yagnik explains, “We began by investing in quality content. We then wanted to build a stronger perception and thirdly we wanted to innovate to break the clutter.”
Firstly, the channel invested in content by tying up with MGM. It bought the Bond franchise for three years including Sky Fall. Along the way, Pix had a makeover in late 2013 changing its previous tagline ‘Hollywood is Here’ to its current one ‘Stay Amazed’. The identity was unveiled with the world premiere of Skyfall in October 2013.
It also premiered Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider Man. During the MIB3 premiere, Pix had launched an anti-alien day, where the channel said that eliminating various kinds of aliens from society was the need of the hour. Hash tags were displayed on the TV screen during the premiere, encouraging people to tweet. At that time, Yagnik had said that the initiative had trended through the day at number one and two in India and worldwide at number four. Similarly, with The Amazing Spiderman, Pix pitched the campaign around the amazing people in every person’s life, creating a web of amazing characters and stars.
Earlier, the channel had also created ‘Premiere PIXathon’ where four back to back movies were premiered on a single day. “We chose movies that had four big stars, or spoke about Hollywood’s four big stars and what makes them click with the audience, four big cricketers and their achievements, and with this, we used the message of the ‘power of four’ for our big Premiere Pixathon,” Yagnik had said at that time.
For 2014, the lineup includes Captain Phillips, The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug, The Amazing Spider Man 2 and Hercules.
Next, to build a stronger perception, the channel started ‘Pix Premiere Nights’ on Facebook to give viewers an opportunity to watch a movie a day before it is actually released in India. Winners are chosen on the basis of a contest. In all, 2,200 winners across 10 cities will be provided passes to watch a mega movie on 11 screens. To facilitate the winner’s attendance, a special helpdesk has been set up. So far the contest has been held for Robocop, Spiderman 2 and The Hobbit. Next in line is The Expendables 3. As reported earlier by indiantelevision.com, one such initiative could cost the channel anywhere between Rs 2-3 crore.
Pix, which has more than two million followers on Facebook, according to Yagnik, decided to break from the clutter by creating micro properties on Facebook like: ‘Legendary Monday’ which has inspiring stories about celebrities; ‘Thoughtful Tuesday’ that is all about celebrity quotes; ‘Pixonomic Wednesday’ has box office collection facts while ‘Desi Thursday’ is a clash between Bollywood and Hollywood. ‘Superhero Friday’ includes all about action heroes while ‘Saturday Talks’ is about famous movie dialogues. The week culminates with ‘Gizmo Sunday’ which is all about gadgets.
The channel plans to announce breaking news about Hollywood through the re-launch of its animated character ‘Notty Pixy’ on Facebook. “She is a gossip reporter who provides Hollywood news first in India,” Yagnik says. He flips a well bound book to showcase a list of Hollywood stars, reporters, movies, events and websites that are the “sources” for ‘Notty Pixy’s’ news.
How has the three point strategy helped Pix?
Revealing TAM data, the channel says that during the first quarter (April 14 to June 14) Star Movies stood first with 19.80 per cent market share while Pix followed closely at the number two position with 19.30 per cent share. The difference was just 0.50 per cent. However, in the same quarter during the primetime slot, Sony Pix led the charts with a market share of 23.6 per cent with Star Movies a distant second having a market share of 17.90 per cent (TAM Market: All India 1 Mn+ TG CS 15+AB).
On Facebook, Pix has been leading the number one spot with 11.68 per cent engagement rate. Engagement includes likes, comments, shares and number of fans. In the second place is Movies Now with a 4.55 per cent engagement rate. Star Movies India and HBO India follow next with engagement rates of 3.35 per cent and 1.07 per cent respectively. Tonic Media is the digital agency that looks after these activities for Pix.
Sharing details about future plans of the channel, Yagnik says that the channel will provide its audience with ‘money can’t buy merchandise’. For example, viewers can win the blue t-shirt worn by Tom Hanks for the film Captain Phillips, which will be premiered on 27 July. Yagnik adds that the t-shirt comes with a certificate of authenticity. Soon thereafter, the blood stained shirt and tie worn by Jamie Foxx in the movie White House Down is up for grabs.
Yagnik revealed that Pix has been seeing revenue growth upwards of 25 per cent and is now available in HD on platforms like Dish TV, Hathway, Fastway and in Cable.
According to Maxus managing partner north and east region Navin Khemka “the channel is trying to use innovative ways to capture audiences. By giving out exclusive merchandises it will attract audiences who will participate in a genre that is fragmented. They key objective is to build loyalty for the channel and therefore is a good strategy.”