With barely five days for the start of the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), entertainment and movie channels are busy giving final touches to their programme line-up to retain and attract eyeballs during the IPL tournament.
To counter IPL, English movie channels have come up with their versions of ‘Movie Premier Leagues’, which aim to hook the audience by showcasing movies before and after the IPL matches.
Star Movies has come up with the ‘Super Star League’ (SSL), which will showcase movies right after the IPL matches at 11 pm and is slated to go on air on March 14. SSL will be showcasing no less than 35 movies during this period, which include movies like ‘Pink Panther 2’, ‘Valkyrie’, ‘Quantum of Solace’ and ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, among others.
HBO, on the other hand, has launched the second season of its ‘Hollywood Premier League’ (HPL), wherein specially selected movies will be aired after the 9 pm movie. Some of the movies that will be shown as part of the HPL include ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, ‘Milk’, and ‘Madagascar: Escape to Africa’, among others.
HBO has also planned a series of innovations around HPL such as the HPL Scoreboard, which tracks the scores on the box office and award hauls of the movies, and HPL Googly, which gives interesting trivia about these movies.
Adopting a similar strategy, PIX has come up with the ‘PIX Premier League’ (PPL), which will commence from March 12 and will continue till April 25. The movies will be aired from 11.15 pm onwards after the IPL matches. Some of the movies that the channel has lined up include ‘Godzilla’, ‘Agent Red’, ‘Legend of Zorro’, and ‘Death of a President’, among others.
As far as the numbers are concerned, TAM data shows that last year the numbers for these channels were almost the same with hardly any difference. The TG for all the channels is CS 15+.
What media planners have to say
Ashwini.Kamat, General Manager, MediaCom, noted, “English movie channels have a very niche audience, in the 4+ CS Homes the entire genre has a channel share of less than 1 per cent. Even today, English movie channels compete within themselves, and at best with English entertainment. It is unlikely that this situation will change with the launch of the Movie Premier Leagues.”
She further said that the titles that these channels had would determine the audience shift amongst the English movie channels.
Talking about her expectations from the numbers standpoint, Kamat said that currently the numbers for this genre were not very significant in the overall TV viewership and that was unlikely to change.
Referring to the recent ‘Food for Thought’ research conducted by MEC, Shubha George, COO, MEC, said, “In MEC’s recent ‘Food For Thought’ research on IPL3 and what will impact its ratings, we found that the channel share of MAX during the IPL tournament will only be challenged by competing programmes on other channels that deliver 3+ per cent TVR. Since English movies do not fall in that range, I do not expect this to make a dent into IPL.”
Ajit Gurnani, Partner – Client Leadership, Team ABG, Mindshare, noted, “Most of the English movie channels are doing the same last time around as well - HBO had done a Movie Premiere League, which they are repeating this year as well. If you look at the ebb/flow and gain/loss analysis during IPL, most of the audiences move out of IPL during breaks and move into GEC and movies. Similarly, most of the migration into IPL happens from GEC and movies.”
He further said, “Consumers also move into their default (favourite) channels - I am, for example, a news and movie buff. In a single TV household like mine, I will move out of IPL into my favourite channels during weak IPL moments in the match. This might help English movie channels when they have big titles slotted before and immediately after an IPL match. These channels will, therefore, see some gain, but they will compete with GECs and Hindi movies as well.”
While English Movies is a very niche genre largely patronised by the affluent English speaking audiences within the metros, IPL is a mass phenomenon avidly watched across all audiences. Also India largely is a single TV household with only 6 % of the TV households have more than 1 TV at home. This means India largely will be glued on to the IPL matches between 16:00hrs to 00:00hrs
Shivanand M, Business Director, Karishma Initiative says that English movie channels are selected in a plan as a frequency booster rather than reach building options, hence comparing the genre share deviation is a more robust currency as the TVR numbers across channels are very miniscule. “Moreover the audience is keen on the content rather than the channel they choose to watch, hence the titles being aired play a pivotal role in the choice made by the viewer,” adds Shivanand.
He explains and says that the channel share within All adults, 25 years and above with Sec A, C&S Households within 6 metros across two previous seasons of the IPL across movie channels and they have shown a drop in channel shares between 16:00hrs to 00:00hrs. The drop was -16% in 2008 which has further widened to -51% in 2009. The IPL matches are scheduled for 16:00hrs to 19:00hrs and 20:00hrs to 23:00hrs. while the movie channels have scheduled the movies at 18:00hrs and 23:00hrs, which means there is at least an hour’s overlap of the match once the movie starts. “The viewer will certainly not opt to switch channels from an interesting fast paced match to a movie,” he feels.
He concludes and says that given the trend set for the previous 2 seasons, also with IPL 3 being played at home and with the hype around the entire series the channel shares for the English movie genre will dip during the current season as well.