All anticipation and crystal gazing around the English movie genre comes to an end as PIX finally hits the screen and eventually enters the choice game – for both viewer and advertiser. The channel launches pan India on April 1, 2006 with three core franchises and a festival planned.
With the kind of buzz created around the announcement of the channel’s launch, many might have thought that PIX would go overboard in terms of launch marketing. The channel officials, however, don’t think so. Sunder Aaron, Business Head, PIX, informed, “PIX launch was one of the most spoken-of events in recent times. Not that that is the only reason for us to not plan extensive marketing. Like any other product, we want to get the distribution right so that when we urge people to tune-in, the channel is available in their homes.”
The TG is clear – premium channel, premium, upwardly, mobile TG, which for Aaron spells being more careful. “These people have expectations and many a times, audience just gives you one shot, you have to make the most of it.” The only marketing activities seen around the channel that would continue for some time are the network promotions. The channel wants to give the distribution some weeks before it embarks on a marketing campaign.
PIX is completely banking on its programming to garner as much viewer attention as it can. At the time of the launch, the channel was clear that day parts across the day would be developed with relevant programming and the channel has begun with the evening and the weekend bands. The reason to initiate from here is that, this is the primetime for English movie viewing.
As Aaron explained, what had been planned for the channel’s content, an interesting aspect that comes out is that unlike the 9.00 pm premiers typically seen on English movie channels, PIX will catch on the viewer 8.00 pm onwards and in the course has developed two franchisees – ‘Great at 8’ and ‘Perfect 10’, which means two good movies in one day.
The weekend initiative is lined for Friday, where two back-to-back movies are packaged in the property ‘Damn Good Drama’, again taking the 8.00 pm and the 10.00 pm slots. Giving a rationale behind these timings, Aaron said, “We believe that that is when the English movie viewer is back home. At 8.00 pm, the TG is slightly younger, looking for some light-hearted title but by 10.00 pm, it is more of a family viewing phenomena and slightly heavier content is accepted. The titles we have placed in these slots keeps this insight in mind.”
Aaron is clear that the brand promise with which PIX has come in the field is that of a channel of great stories and believes that, this would be seen in the properties that PIX has. He reiterates that even as the channel comes from the Sony family and has the advantage of being preferred when it comes to Columbia Tristar and MGM titles, PIX will be dealing with producers across the board and will concentrate on getting the titles that would deliver on this brand promise.
One of the first festivals that will be seen in the launch month is based on actor Goldie Hawn. PIX has always been saying that it is not just the title but also the presentation of the titles, whether in themes or festivals, that would be a focus area for the channel.