The English movie space, once considered a niche genre, is witnessing a flurry of activities. From the launch of ad free channels, major deals with prominent studios to networks adding second English movie channel to the network bouquet, broadcasters are going all out to target audiences.
According to Kevin Vaz, Business head- English Channels, Star Jalsha and Jalsha Movies at STAR India, due to high aspiration element of the audiences today and more awareness owing to globalisation, the English movie space has undergone a complete transformation.
In conversation with exchange4media, Vaz talks about the launch of the new channel. Star Movies Action, the evolution of the English movie space and the changes observed post digitisation.
How, according to you, has the English movie space evolved in the Indian broadcast space? Do you think there is space for more in this genre, given the number of channels that are already in existence?
There is a huge change happening, especially in the English content. Due to high aspiration element of the audiences today and more awareness owing to globalisation, the English movie space has undergone a complete transformation. This has led to high audience aggregation and people coming on this space to view more content, and it is seen that advertisers are also keen on associating and doing tie-ups with this genre. It has also been observed that English movies are well accepted in the current scenario. The consumption, especially in metros such Mumbai, Delhi, etc., is quite high. Now you have high quality programmes that are available for consumption. With regards to the space that is available, it all depends on the kind of offering, which should be different from what is already available.
What is the rationale behind the launch of a second English movie channel given that STAR already has Star Movies as part of the channel bouquet? What would be the core differentiating factor between the two movie channels?
Keeping the aforementioned points in mind, it is necessary to aggregate and get all those products in the market that can connect to the audiences, which would in turn keep the target viewers satisfied. This is where the new channel, Star Movies Action, comes into play. The channel will have quality visuals and its focused audience group is males. Just like Star Movies is known as a home for Hollywood premieres, this new channel will telecast movies pertaining to the action genre since I believe there is a huge appetite for action movies. This channel will showcase 300 exclusive titles and will offer exclusive content to the viewers. For the same, we have associated with some of the biggest studios such as Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney, Universal and Sony Pictures.
Could you share the marketing strategy for Star Movies Action?
We have undertaken a 360-degree marketing campaign for the launch of the new channel since it is a very significant move for us. We will be supporting this in a big way. We are undertaking promotions on air across the entire STAR bouquet of channels. The promos are already telecast across all Hindi channels, regional channels across markets as well as the entire English channel bouquet. A channel anthem, ‘Hero will rise’, has also been launched by Pentagram, who has created the same for us exclusively. We are also active on all other mediums such as social and digital platforms, though the primary platform will be television. We will be there on DTH platforms and cable platforms in a big way as well as cinema advertising, which will resonate with our target audiences.
Even on the distribution front, the channel will be available on different platforms such as Tata Sky, Airtel and so on. So content, marketing and distribution would be totally in synergy with each other.
How has the marketing and content strategy translated in terms of viewership and advertising revenues?
Star Movies has always been a clear leader in this space. Star English has 63 per cent share of English GECs within Weekday Prime Time. (Source: CS 15+ AB 7 Metros Q1 2013 | Weekday 2000-2400 Hours). Star World and FX lead the English GEC category with Star World at 24 per cent and FX at 18 per cent (Source: CS 15+ AB 7 Metros Q1 2013 | All Dayparts). FX is the No. 1 channel amongst premium audiences at 26 per cent (Source: CS 15-34 SEC A 7 Metros Q1 2013 | All Dayparts). Because of the kind of offering, we have been a continuous No. 1. We have seen advertisers such as FMCG, telecom, consumer durables, DTH, etc., and as the segment grows, people will benefit more. We target a premium audience, and with more and more brands targeting the premium audience, there will be a lot of opportunities.
Do you consider the English movie space to be niche? What are some of the key changes that the genre has observed post digitisation?
From the GRP point of view, it is a niche genre since it is not targeted towards the mass. But having said that, it presents a lot of opportunities and potential for the future. There has been an increase in consumer and viewer participation. We have seen cinema growing. Today, it is more important to focus on content than the other facets. We are very clear on our content strategy and there is a huge differentiator between the content of the two channels. Post digitisation, viewers are able to enjoy crystal clear and high quality English content. Depending on the content, time spent will increase and that is where the true potential lies.