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Sony Pix eyes 10% growth in market share in 2016 riding on big ticket premieres

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MUMBAI: Armed with a host of big ticket movie premieres, Sony Pictures Networks India’s English movie channel Sony Pix is all set to usher in the new year with a bang. The channel, which commanded a market share of 17 per cent from May to December 2015, is eyeing a 10 per cent growth in share next year.

Sony Pictures Networks India EVP and business head - English cluster Saurabh Yagnik says, “Acquisition costs have also seen a significant increase this year. We are expecting a 10 per cent growth in the market share next year. We plan to sustain the growth that we had this year.”

While the channel has movie deals in place with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, MGM and Disney, it recently also inked a deal with NBCUniversal International Distribution under which it will now have access to movie titles from Universal Pictures. With this new deal in place, the three mega box office blockbusters of 2015 namely Jurassic WorldFast and Furious 7 and Minions will have their television premieres on Sony Pix in 2016.

It may be recalled that Sony Pix saw a re-launch in 2013 with a focus on three pillars namely: investing in content, innovating to break clutter and building brand perception by straddling across the entire Hollywood ecosystem in the country. Though these key points from ‘version 1.0’ remain intact in the organisation structure, the channel in its ‘version 2.0’ avatar, will also be seen focussing on three key filters namely scale, style and talkability.

Touting this as the next phase in the growth of the channel, Yagnik says, “The aim this year was to solidify our position as a leading player in the English movie and entertainment space. The year has been extremely successful for the channel. These three elements will form the core of our strategy for Pix v.2.0. By scale we mean larger than life experiences for our viewers. The style will be our personality that we would be identified with. And by talkability, we mean everything we do will be so well differentiated from the clutter that it would commonly refer to as hatke.”

With Sony Pix v.2.0, the channel aims to catapult the philosophy of the brand statement ‘Stay Amazed’ a notch higher with gripping content of blockbuster movies.

On the content front, the channel has acquired exclusive rights to the biggest franchises like Fast and Furious, Hunger GamesStar Wars, Rocky, James Bond, Spider-man, Twilight and Ironman to name a few.

Version 2.0 will supplement the content with three mega premieres of the highest grossing movies of 2016. WhileJurassic World collected $1.66 billion at the box-office, Paul Walker’s last Fast and Furious 7 saw immense success globally with a collection of $1.5 billion. The animated movie Minions, on the other hand, also crossed the $1 billion mark.

Apart from these, the channel will also premiere big ticket movies like Everest, The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2, The Walk, Straight Outta ComptonPaddington, Hotel Translyvania, Goosebumps and Insidious 3amongst others. 

“The movie business is all about watching a library of movies and not watching only new movies. Life with a limited number of movies will be boring and that’s why Sony Pix has innumerable movie titles under their cap. We buy movies just for the channel exclusively, which the other channels won’t have on board currently,” adds Yagnik.

With the rise of the multiplexes, while the gap between the international and Indian theatrical release of movies has narrowed down over the years, piracy affects broadcasters to some extent as movies take at least six to eight months to premiere on television. Nevertheless Yagnik strongly believes that this does not affect the channel as the movies have a strong recall value over the audiences. “The audience will watch it in movie theatres or maybe download it but once the movie airs on television, the fans will still watch it again. The entire television watching audience does not go to the theatres to watch a movie. Typically any movie, which has scale in terms of cast, story, VFX, action or the viewing experience, will work well,” he says.

“Big movies have 60 per cent of revenue coming from the international markets but if the movie is completely set in a particular cultural context then it will not work,” he continues.

Sony Pix is all set to bring the next level of differentiation with its signature ‘pixification’ of three elements namely voice, body and soul of the channel. The channel’s voice has always been a male voice-over. However, in this updated version, the voice-over will have a female’s voice. The channel’s body will behold the flavour of the week, month or day in their promos one at a time. On the other hand, the channel’s soul has a change in its lingo more adept for the youth. “The voice-over is just one of the many new things that the audience will experience on the channel. It is important to create a distinctive identity and soul through pixification of our official properties to make it attractive and a free spirited zesty time,” adds Yagnik.

Summarising Pix v.2.0 as the best in class content powered by an equally inimitable pixification of communication and brand ambience, Yagnik is upbeat on the year ahead.

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