AXN, the action channel backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, is not going to turn free-to-air once the conditional access regime is introduced even as it launches a slew of new shows this calendar year.
“Subscription revenues are an important part of our business plan. We very much plan to continue as a pay channel,” said Gregory Ho, vice-president, marketing AXN Asia. He did concede though that the introduction of addressibility will impact the number of subscribers that AXN currently has in the short term, adding “but that will impact everyone.”
Calling India, AXN’s biggest market in Asia in terms of subscribers and revenue potential, Ho added that the channel with its English action-oriented programming anyway targets socio-economic classes (SEC) A and B. “This audience does have the ability to pay,” he added.
As far as ad sales revenues are concerned Ho says, “We have not just maintained but grown since last year. This year was much better than last year. While advertisers are demanding more value but they also feel that they need to maintain a basic level of noise.”
Four new shows -- Alias, Seven Days, Beastmaster, VIP will premiere on the channel in September.
Meanwhile, AXN will do a ten-city film festival based on action films starting September 17, 2002. Twenty-eight movies in all the festival will travel to Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Cochin, Pune and Ahmedabad along with the four metros.