Television

Cinema 24x7 launches new Hindi movie channel for LC1 market

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MUMBAI: Even as there are talks of media and entertainment behemoth Eros International looking to disrupt the Hindi movie channels space with its plans to launch a channel that will focus on shortening the window between the theatrical release and television premier of a film, a new player has quietly entered the already cluttered space.

The cluttered Hindi movie channel genre, which has more than ten players like Zee Cinema, Star Gold, Sony Max, Sony Max 2, Zee Classic, Zee Action, &Pictures, Movies OK, B4U Movies, UTV Movies and Filmy, can now add ‘Wow Cinema’ to its growing list. 

The channel, whose tests runs have been on since 1 June, 2015, will be available across the country from 10 June onwards on all Direct to Home (DTH) operators as well as major multi system operators (MSOs).

Armed with a chest of more than 500 Hindi movies, which have been released between 1990 and 2006, the new free to air (FTA) channel from Cinema 24x7’s stable aims to target the LC1 market initially and then gradually move ahead to capture market share in the metros.

From the sound of it, the channel may as well compete directly with Zee Classic, which only airs old Hindi movies. Nonetheless, Wow Cinema does have plans to acquire new movie titles in the near future.

Speaking exclusively to Indiantelevision.com, Cinema 24x7 CEO Hitesh Sabharwal says that the channel will aggressively forge ahead towards buying movies and creating a strong library. The channel has the rights for the movies for a period of five years.

Facing stiff competition from existing players who pull in viewers with big ticket movie premieres along with old but popular Bollywood fare, Wow Cinema aims to be a destination that will offer a mix of old and new. However, Sabharwal refused to divulge names of the movies that the channel has the rights to.

“Wow Cinema will be a destination for Indian viewers to witness the mix of new and old. While we will keep the retro mode with our wide collection from 1990s to 2006, we will also have national premieres on the channel. The channel will give 360 degree value to advertisers on board and in the long run will compete with every player irrespective of new or old, small or big. Our target age group is from 4 to 60 across the country,” he asserts.

Cinema 24x7 head of sales Dipak Shelke explains, “Our priority at this stage is to make a mark in the LC1 market and then gradually evolve in the metros. In terms of viewership, our initial target is to garner around 20 GRPs in the HSM.”

With zilch subscription revenue coming in courtesy its FTA status, the channel’s single source of revenue will be advertising. Moreover, with the 12-minute ad cap regulation still being applied to FTA channels as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has not yet taken a formal decision to exempt them from it, Wow Cinema’s task has been cut out for it. In a scenario like this, the channel will have an uphill journey in raking in the revenues.

Shelke opines, “Wow Cinema has the potential to emerge as advertisers’ destination as we promise to be audience’s choice by providing extensive content. We are in talks with many brands but it’s too early to name names. All I can say is that FMCG brands and E-Commerce companies are showing keen interest in the channel and we hope to seal the deals soon.”

The channel launch will be backed by a marketing campaign, which will be rolled out soon.

It now remains to be seen how the new channel differentiates itself from existing players and whether it manages to make a mark in the consumers’ mind by offering them fare that they haven’t seen before.

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