Hindi movie channel space hots up


MUMBAI: The war for domination among the film channels is just beginning.

Leaders of the pack, Zee Cinema and Max, have both launched campaigns touting their forthcoming attractions. Max, which has acquired the satellite rights of recent blockbusters, has rolled out its new campaign to promote its new offering – Saal Ke Sabse Bade Blockbusters. The campaign could well jog the competition in the movie space into like minded onslaughts.

Says Max marketing vice president T Gangadhar, “We will be launching a full scale ad campaign to reach out to more viewers. The hoardings have already started coming up and the process will speed up in the coming days. Though we have not thought about a print campaign as part of our promotional strategy,  we will have a huge campaign involving radio and Internet.”

Max tasted success with special attractions like ‘Ab Tak Bachchan’, which showcased some of the well known classics of Amitabh Bachchan like Don, Deewaar, Silsila, Agneepath, Laawaris, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Zanjeer, Satte Pe Satta, Sharaabi, Yaarana, Mohabbatein, Baghban and Waqt — Race Against Time, the channel now aims to cash in on the audience loyality and get viewers hooked to the blockbusters that the channel plans to air regularly.

Zee Cinema, on the other hand, has a weekly spot dedicated to Bachchan every Saturday called Shanivaar Ki Raat, Amitabh Ke Saath.

Speaking about the competition involved in the movie channel space, Gangadhar says, “We do realise that the movie channel space is a profitable venture and thus attracts a lot of competition. Though there are many players in that space, in the long run, it’s only the big players who are going to survive and Max is one of them.”

Expressing satisfaction over the ad revenues that movie channels attract, he adds, “There has been an upward trend in terms of ad revenues. Earlier it was the General Entertainment Channels (GECs), which attracted a major chunk of the advertising pie. But now a new scheme of things is emerging where all players benefit from the ad revenues.”

The other big player in the movie space, Zee Cinema recently launched a mythological series Bhakti Ki Shakti and Cinema Hall to add a new flavour to its programming. Zee Cinema business head Mohan Gopinath says, “We have touched the audience pulse with the Bhakti Ki Shakti series and plan to continue featuring mythological films. The audience response has been a great inspiration to carry on with it.”

On queried as to how Zee Cinema plans to counter the latest campaign launched by Max, Gopinath says, “We don’t believe in countering anyone’s campaign since all movie channels have their own loyal audience base. Our endeavour is to provide quality entertainment for people who have been watching Zee Cinema. In the coming months, we are acquiring exclusive rights to some big Bollywood hits as part of our strategy to maintain an interesting programming menu.”

Zee has also recently bought the rights of 40+ new and old films. Some of the new films that it has bought the rights to include Fool N Final, Hera Pheri and Big Brother.

Star Gold too has maintained a grip over its loyal viewers with slots like Family Blockbusters, Super Sunday and Hollywood Maha Specials. In recent figures released by TAM, Star Gold had a flattering TVR of 3.37 for airing the Hrithik Roshan starrer Krrish. Star has also bought the rights of Sooraj Barjatya’s superhit film Vivah, starring Shahid Kapur and Amrita Rao. The network plans to air the same during Diwali this year.

Sahara One Media and Entertainment’s movie channel Filmy, on the other hand is gearing up to air JP Dutta’s Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan starrer Umrao Jaan on 30 June. The channel has also acquired the rights of Guru and Nishabd. “Apart from these three big movies, we have recenlty acquired the rights of close to 30 – 40 Hindi films. Out of these, some of them have never been telecast on television,” says Filmy business head Ashutosh.

As the number of movies being released increases year on year, the competition amongst movie channels is sure to hot up even further.

Related stories:
Krrish tops most viewed films on TV

Max in overdrive to promote Bollywood blockbusters

Zee acquires broadcasting rights of 40 films

Bollywood films’ satellite rights: Bets get bigger