One year down, Max 2 eyes hike in ad rates

MUMBAI: In a country where ‘maa’ and ‘cinema’ play a vital role in the lives of people, the growth of platforms airing movies is but natural. With as many as 15 Hindi movie channels catering to this movie crazy nation, the genre is the third most viewed, registering 13.6 per cent viewership share.

In a scenario like this, a new player - Max 2 - from the Multi Screen Media (MSM) stable has completed one year in the industry. Buoyed by its journey so far, the channel, which has been successful in garnering advertisers’ interest, is now looking at increasing its ad rates.

Speaking to, Sony Max, Sony Max2 and Sony Mix senior EVP and business head Neeraj Vyas says that Max2 ad inventory is completely sold out. “When you launch a channel, one hopes for a 50-70 per cent sellout of ad inventory. But, we are sold out, right from 7 am -12 midnight. We will now look at increasing the ad rates.”

According to an industry source, to start off, a new channel like Max 2 could charge anywhere between Rs 250-300 per 10 second ad slot.

However, refusing to comment on the channel’s ad rates, Vyas says, “The rates were invitational, which is what any new channel will give to the advertiser, but now we will revise the rates. I see a huge delivery potential on the channel.”

Max2 was launched in 2014 with an aim to capture a chunk of the Rs 2,800- 3,000 crore market pie. One year down the line, the channel is satisfied with the growth it has seen. As per BARC India’s week 28 rating, the channel, which competes with Zee Classic, Zee Action and B4U Movies, was at the number one position in the classic movie channel category with 65 GVMs.

Max2, which was launched as a tribute to the ‘golden era’ of cinema of the 60s and 70s, has not just performed well for itself, but also for the classic movie channel genre as a whole. “The genre was completely neglected. What earlier garnered anywhere between 30-40 GRPs, has today become a 100 GRP plus category,” Vyas says.

Max 2, according to Vyas, decided to not just play out the movies but also respect the genre. “We have been able to infuse life in a genre, which was not cared for. We have managed to create magic around a category of cinema which in some way had stopped getting its due,” he informs.

In order to better utilize the vast movie library, which was not getting the air time it deserved on Max, MSM decided to launch Max 2. “Max had the library, but these movies weren’t being played actively. So while a few movies like Amar Akbar Anthony were played sporadically, films like Anand, for example, never got played on Max. Moreover, there were many such movies, which weren’t getting the due they deserved,” he says.

Vyas is of the opinion that Max 2’s positioning was what made competitors recognize its vast library. “Competition did not realise the potential of their own business, until we came into the picture. We saw a potential in the genre and planned accordingly. But things have changed now. The competition has started seeing the magic of their own library and marketing around movies are being planned to gain traction,” informs Vyas.

While most movie channels cater to the young, Max2 took a different positioning by catering to the 25-55 year olds. “Today everyone is catering to the youth. But, there is a huge audience from 25-55 years, which is underserved and not to forget, it is also a base, which has huge buying capacity. So, even from an advertisers’ point of view, the positioning made sense,” he says.

Not just this, while movie channels are mostly male dominated, Max2 has a sizable amount of female viewership. “We have broken the myth that movie channels are only for male audiences. So it is an advantage for advertisers as well, who get female audiences at a very high rate on the Hindi general entertainment channels only,” he adds. 

With an aim to pull audiences with its feel, Max 2 launched peripheral content to connect with audiences. While the channel had peripheral content in Sitare (biography of actors) and Take 2 (trivia), more such content will be launched around Diwali, this year. “We are not doing anything currently as we are waiting for the rural and LC1 data to come in from BARC India. There is a lot of imbalance currently and everyone is struggling to understand the data. Coupled with this, is the fact that a whole new dimension of rural and LC1 will be added, which means a lot of things will change. In this scenario, to spend marketing money and not see the result is the question that every marketer is facing. The genre will be applying the wait and watch policy,” points out Vyas.

Marketing campaign

Marketing plays a crucial role in any channel’s success story and Max 2 had a well thought out plan for the launch.

Max marketing head Vaishali Sharma says, “We had a phase-wise focus on different markets by using different kind of media and tactical strategy to reach out to viewers.”

Post the launch, the channel used radio and music channels to spread the word about the channel and the movies of the ‘golden era.’

As for the on-ground activation, Max 2 organised the ‘Film Family and Fun’ event across 60 cities. “The concept was to use the magic of the films from Max 2 library to engage with audiences,” informs Sharma.

Max 2 invited families to participate in the event, wherein they could either sing a song, dance, or enact a scene from list of movies given by the channel. Close to 2,440 families auditioned across these cities, while 18,50,000 people were reached through the activation and event. “In each of the cities, we selected 10 families for the final event and awarded them as Family No. 1,” she says.

On the digital platform, the channel created campaigns with hashtags like #bringbackgoodmovies and #Isupportgoodmovies.

The channel currently has two lakh likes on Facebook. “Not much money was spent on digital. It has been an organic growth,” informs Sharma.

The channel will soon launch another immersive digital campaign, which will see people advocating movies from the ‘golden era.’

Backed by MSM’s distribution and marketing might coupled with a massive movie library, it seems that the cinematic journey of Max2 has only just begun.

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