For MAX, the year is ending with a lot of action and much has been planned for the New Year as well. Concentrating on all its franchisees like Maha Movies, Super Cinema, Hollywood Hungama and the Sunday block, the channel is supporting New Year’s initiative with a massive marketing campaign, commencing on December 28, 2005.
According to the Business Head of the channel, Albert Almeida, this was the biggest continual campaign ever done in the history of MAX. Said he, “Beginning with the end of the 2005 and going right into January, February and March, we have planned an extensive communication exercise that will not only speak of the insight we have about new movies, shown soon enough, not only filling the role of theatre, but also promoting each of these movies, which are premiering on MAX.”
Between MAX and SET, it is largely seen that the big titles are aired on SET and then brought to MAX. However, in the first quarter of the New Year, there is a change with titles like ‘Waqt’, ‘Dus’ and ‘Iqbal’ premiering on MAX. In addition to this, the MAX Stardust Awards are planned for end January and much is expected from this as well.
In regards to the marketing activities, the insight that the channel has considered is that the experience that a viewer has when he sees a new movie on television is an immediate association of ‘isn’t the movie still playing in theatres’. “Based on this, an umbrella campaign is designed highlighting that MAX is the channel which brings new and good movies in just a short while after their release,” said Almeida.
The marketing plan is a mix of the umbrella message and every time a property is close to the time of its airing, the communication focuses on that as well. Consequently, in addition to the broad message, there also will be creatives focussing on ‘Waqt’ and ‘MAX Stardust Awards’ in January, ‘Dus’ in February and ‘Iqbal’ in March. The campaign is planned across television, radio and outdoor. “The idea is to reinforce MAX’s positioning as a premium movie and events channel and queuing in audience for these movies,” informed Almeida.
While with these movies the Sunday slot of the channel is addressed, action has also been planned for Saturdays in the Maha Movie slot and in Super Cinema slot across the week. The festival bands in the afternoon, too, had done well for the channel and would see big names in 2006, said Almeida, adding Hollywood Hungama has a refurbished line up as well. The addition of movies from BVITV and the Fox Library would give a boost to this segment, which hitherto only saw titles from Sony Pictures, according to Almeida.
The channel has indeed quite a lot planned in terms of both titles, concentration on various blocks and a mega campaign to support it all. However, it should be noted that in 2004, MAX was clearly giving Zee Cinema a run for its money as far as ratings was concerned. In 2005, the game changed and Zee Cinema is the clear leader in the segment.
Replying to why such a change in competitive dynamics, Almeida said, “In 2005, MAX has been a drier MAX. When I say that I mean that in comparison to the properties and tent poles that we had in 2004, 2005 was not that active. This, coupled with a resurgent leader, had led to the kind of changes that you saw. However, even towards the end of the year, with our Sunday initiatives and big titles coming on, the weekend block has again made it a neck-to-neck battle, where really there is a different leader every week. And we are pushing this more so that we have more weeks in our favour in the year to come. We have been a challenger channel and we are getting really serious about this in the New Year.”
Almeida is right on one count – the leader in the Hindi movie genre has changed depending on the title and Zee Cinema has had a good run in the year. As for 2006, it won’t be long before the action unfolds.