MAX, the hybrid channel from Sony India stable, will soon be launched in international markets across the direct-to-home (DTH) and cable TV platforms, but without its cricket content.
MAX is being positioned as a movie and events channel overseas and the launch is slated for mid-June. In India, MAX has a mix of live cricket, movies and events programming.
MAX channel can’t show cricket in countries like the US, UK and Australia. Acquisition of cricket properties by Sony Entertainment Television (SET) including live telecast of the World Cup is limited to India and, in some cases, to a few neighbouring countries. Even for live telecast of ICC cricket tournaments till 2007, including the two World Cups, SET India has acquired exclusive cable and satellite TV rights only across India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Singapore and Malaysia.
For movies and events, SET India’s acquisition involves worldwide rights. This is because movies and events are shown on Sony TV, the Hindi general entertainment channel of SET India, which already has a presence in countries like the UK, US, Australia and South Africa. With Hindi movies being extremely popular in many countries, MAX decided to take the channel to the international market, without its strong live cricket programming.
“There is a tremendous potential in going global and we will take MAX around the world soon. We are positioning it as a premium movies and events channel. Hindi movies are extremely popular among the South Asian audiences,” said MAX executive vice-president and business head Rajat Jain. He, however, declined to comment on when the channel would be launched. With the global launch, MAX will compete against other movie channels like Zee Cinema and B4U Movies. Interestingly in UK, Sony TV is bundled with B4U Movies and sold as a package in the BSKYB DTH platform.