WB plans to double ad revenue on content ramp up

MUMBAI: WB, the hybrid channel from the Turner stable, is looking to double its ad revenue this year as it pushes up its content.

WB will air its first movie premiere 300 on 6 November at 9 pm and is aggressively attempting to build its franchise blocks.

The channel has been able to attract 60 brands in its first year of operations in India.

Says Turner Entertainment Networks, South Asia VP deputy GM Monica Tata, "This year WB‘s monthly revenue has grown 50 per cent over 2009. This growth comes from doubling the number of clients in 2010 (over 2009) and WB today has a portfolio of over 100 active brands. WB surpassed last year‘s revenue in the first half of 2010."

With the festive season coming up, WB expects revenues to double by year-end.

Ponds once again tied up with the channel for its on-going Festival Of Lights initiative. 300 will be presented by Garnier Men Deodorant and powered by Spice Telecom in Association with Hero Honda. There are also brand integrations that the channel does such as Thumbs Up- Nitro, Garnier Biggg Ticket and Samsung Fast Forward. For the family audience, WB has Sunday Brunch in association with Knorr.

Since launching last year, WB has focussed on building its franchise blocks that set the tone for the kind of films that it airs. "Recently, we have added franchises in accordance to our focussed weekend strategy such as the Saturday Night Biggg Ticket block; Sundays Back-to-Back block; Friday, Saturday, Sunday - Trilogy block.This has also shored up our ad revenue," says Tata.

WB aims to beef up its weekend lineup. "We are aggressively engaging audiences with our offering during the key movie viewing periods that include Saturday Night. WB offers single break movies, adding to the viewer‘s movie viewing experience, with a minimum two-minute break," says Tata.

WB is currently celebrating the festival season with Festival Of Lights with movies in six themes. Apart from 300, the upcoming titles include 10000 BC, Speedracer and Golden Compass.

When asked about the importance of movie premieres as just having library content does not work in terms of getting viewership and ad revenue, Tata disagrees saying that while new titles have a ‘sparkle‘ value, what consistently drives viewership are good movies that have repeat value.

"Channels cannot run on only new titles, there aren‘t that many available! Look across channels and you will realise what works are good movies and what works even better are great action movies. An English movie viewer wants to see a good movie and that is the WB promise."

She points to movies like Matrix Revolutions and The Mask that fared well in the ratings sweepstakes among the 15-44 SEC A,B demographic.

"WB‘s relative share of the genre in the digital panel is about 80 per cent higher than its overall share in C&S 15-44 SEC A,B. This clearly showcases Indian viewer‘s high preference for WB (as they choose WB and pay to view it) and is a big stamp on the quality of WB‘s content."

In terms of innovations, she points to 9 pm on Saturday nights where it offers viewers the chance to watch movies with just a two-minute break. Being a hybrid channel, WB also airs TV shows. It launched the animated version of George Lucas‘ cult, science fiction series Star Wars The Clone Wars in July and the action thriller series Human Target in September.

WB, she adds, has been growing its WB Breakfast Franchise with shows like Good Morning Miami, Four Kings and New Adventures Of Old Christine.

In terms of the ratio between movies and shows, she says that WB currently operates in a 70:30 ratio when it comes to movies and television series.

"We feel that the mix and balance between the two is just right and is working well for the channel," Tata adds.

Media analysts, however, believe WB has a lot of catching up to do with its sister channel HBO and Star Movies. It will also have to contend against established player Zee Studio and Pix which is beefing up its content following its output deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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