The English Movie genre is witnessing quite an action-packed start to 2006. The two premium movie channels – HBO and current leader, STAR Movies – are sprucing up their marketing as well as content, giving viewers a lot to look forward to.
It is revitalisation time at HBO, where the channel has revamped all its properties and introduced new ones. The HBO mantra for 2006 is ‘Big, New and Most’, while for STAR Movies, it is ‘Big and Biggest’.
The year gone by saw STAR Movies on a clear high. The channel not only took over HBO, but also retained the position through the year. Irrespective of the parameter for channel shares or scoring on titles, STAR Movies continues to be in the lead.
Speaking on this, Ajay Vidyasagar, EVP, Marketing and Communication, STAR India, said, “STAR Movies has always been committed to offer its viewers the biggest and the best from Hollywood through innovative and meaningful programming. All through the year the channel had been showcasing a host of consumer lead initiatives such as Diwali Special, SMS A Flick, Friday Night Premiers and many other such properties.”
Meanwhile, HBO has big changes lined up for properties and channel franchises in 2006. The channel is discontinuing some of its well known properties like ‘The Big One’ and ‘Superstar Sunday’.
“We are revitalising these properties,” elaborated Shruti Bajpai, Country Head, HBO, adding, “We want to focus more on the Hollywood experience for the viewer and so instead of ‘The Big One’, we have brought in ‘Blockbuster of the Month’, which means a great title every month and with the authentic Hollywood experience.”
Elaborating further, she said, “We will envelop the property with factors that cumulatively give a Hollywood experience – like making of the show, interview with the star cast and so on. With a big movie every month, we are talking about 12 big movies in a year.”
But isn’t that a tall order? “By big movies, I’m not saying a ‘Spiderman’ every month,” replied Bajpai, “but there are other big titles as well like ‘Collateral’, ‘Austin Powers’ and so on, that have created the buzz. Then there is another rung with titles like ‘Troy’ and ‘Ocean’s Twelve’, so there are quite a few that can help us put together 12 big movies.”
The channel is kicking-off the property with ‘Spider Man 2’ and has planned a whole host of activities around the movie, including a tie-up with Barista as part of the on-ground initiatives. Barista outlets will be converted into ‘Spider Mania Zone’ closer to the release of the movie. The marketing plan of the movie is across mediums.
Another property that is in for a change is ‘Superstar Sunday’, which now becomes ‘Sunday Superhits’ – the focus shifting from stars to movies. The new properties on the channel include ‘Youth Zone’, which will be shown before the 9.00 pm movies. “There is a lot more that we will be doing for this TG and we are going to finalise on more properties in days to come,’ said Bajpai, “In essence, this is developing new time bands for us as well.”
A key property that will be seen in the year is ‘The Big Preview’. The channel has already covered ‘King Kong’ for this and next in line is Steven Spielberg’s ‘Munich’. “And in the year there are some great movies to come. This will be an exciting property, where we will take the viewers on the sets of these forthcoming movies,” added Bajpai.
HBO Originals will continue to get the channel’s attention in the year. In addition to the grand finale of ‘Sex and the City’, other big names like ‘Rome’ that have created quite a stir internationally, will be also aired on the channel. Bajpai further said that in keeping with the themes that delivered for the channel, more of them would be seen this year. “There are Indian-based themes, something for almost every festival, there is just a lot of celebration in addition to the action on HBO,” she added.
Not to be left behind, STAR Movies is continuing with its focus on properties like ‘Experience Hollywood’, ‘Friday Night Premieres’, ‘Opening Night’ and Special Events like the Oscars.
The list of the ‘Best and the Biggest’ movies that the channel has planned is across genres – from thriller and action to comedy and drama. Some of the forthcoming initiatives include films made by Indian origin Hollywood director Manoj Night Shyamalan from January 23-26, 2006. The ‘Opening Night’ has names like ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, ‘Ice Age 2’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 2’ and ‘Garfield 2’ amongst others.
The channel is very upbeat about the year. Said Vidysagar, “The numerous blockbusters that are lined up throughout the year have made STAR Movies the preferred destination for all Hollywood buffs and with what 2006 has to offer, we are confident of a great year ahead.”