Television

Sony movie cluster biz grew by 30 per cent: Neeraj Vyas

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MUMBAI: 2016 has been a good and a profitable year for Sony Pictures Network’s movie cluster. In May 2016, Sony expanded its movie cluster with its first free-to-air (FTA) channel Sony Wah.

With this addition, the channel count in Sony's Hindi movie bouquet has reached four including Sony Max, Sony Max2 and Sony Max HD.

During the IPL season, each year Sony Max registered highest ratings in the prime time segment, hence the property is special for the group.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Sony Max movie channel cluster senior EVP and business head Neeraj Vyas shared, “In every way, we witnessed one of the best years, from the beginning of life post the IPL as IPL is an integral part of Sony as it is essential from a reach perspective. For the first time in many years, right from IPL to the latest week, Max has retained a leadership position -- for 26 consecutive weeks, we have been the leaders. Apart from that, Max 2 has held its own and we have grown in the market where we created a beautiful niche for movies of yesteryears."

Vyas added, "I think Max has helped a so-called retro genre look cooler, feel cooler and we brought back happy memories to the mind of viewers. Again, Max 2 is something we are very proud of.”

SPN’s flagship movie channel Sony Max has been the leader since the last 26 consecutive weeks. Sony Max garnered 420 GVM (Avg Weekly GRPs (CS 4+) and 38.9 reach (Avg Weekly Reach% (HSM, 4+) (Viewership Nos. (HSM, U+R / Post IPL till date i.e Wk 48)

The channel delivered 19 per cent more viewership than the no. 2 HFF Channel i.e Zee Cinema. Max was the only HFF Channel that grew over FY 16 in these last six months. Even GECs witnessed a decreasing trend during this period over last fiscal.

SPN has a special movie channel which caters to a niche audience. The channel had been the leader for 23 out of 35 weeks in FY 17. It delivers almost five per cent more viewership than the no. 2 HFF channel. It's Sony Max 2, of course.

Sony Wah has been the leader since the last 23 consecutive weeks which is two weeks short of Wah's lifetime weeks. As per BARC’s Week 44 data, WAH was the no. 1 HFF Channel @ U+R beating Pay HFF for the first time. The highest rated title by Wah, ‘Baahubali’ rated 1.8 TVR per cent (@ HSM U+R).

"We launched Wah towards the end of May. For weeks, we led in the segment (rural). It's been a fabulous year. We led in all the genres we operated in. More importantly, I think, we have managed to essentially create a set of channels which provide a lot of good content to the viewers, and at the same time able to reach to large critical mass of viewers across the entire HSM platform which I think something advertisers are looking for,” added Vyas.

“Max HD is a unique channel catering to the classes, and, here again, we have seen consistent growth," Vyas said.

Talking about the rural Hindi-speaking market, Vyas explained, “A lot of works needs to be done in this market. Broadcasters should deep dive into it to understand that, because we are not familiar with that market. It’s critical to understand its nuances and the viewership pattern of rural HSM. A lot of leg work needs to be done there. All of this I think will happen in next one year. Rural HSM is a large part of the country, and one can't map it easily. But, we certainly see a lot of potential. For very long, I think, it's been an underserved market.”

The key advertisers for Sony movies have been HUL, P&G, Cadbury’s in FMCG, Mahindra & Mahindra, TVS, MRF in automotive, Vodafone in telecom and Axis Bank and DHFL in the BFSI category.

Vyas added, “Revenue outlook was great till a few days ago but demonetisation has slowed down the process. But, I think, it’s a temporary setback. But, that apart, we witnessed a phenomenal growth in terms of ad revenue. We have grown by almost 30 per cent over the last year which I think is much better than the industry average."

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