Against the backdrop of Set Max’ recently launched new campaign ‘Dewana Bana de’, exchange4media, in a free-wheeling conversation with Neeraj Vyas, EVP and Business Head of the channel, talks about the timing of the new campaign, the current scenario in the Hindi movie space, the ratings debacle and Max’ revenue prospects post the 10+2 ad cap.
Why was the Set Max campaign ‘Dewana Bana De’ timed at this juncture?
The timing essentially was to ensure enough inventories are available. We wanted adequate amount of rotation of the creative we have planned within the network, other channels and the media we buy outside. Secondly, there could be a drastic price hike, so the biggest reason to execute the campaign as soon as possible was because we did not want to get into a situation where we have the campaign ready, but do not have enough bandwidth to execute it.
Apart from this, we traditionally launch a campaign around this time of the year. The campaign this year is a tribute to ‘Dewanapan’ that lies within all of us. Max and ‘Dewanapan’ have co-existed since a long time. It has stayed with the channel for the last 10 years. This year we have tried to define the perception of the viewer. We have tried to convey that our consumer perceives himself to be a crazy about films.
Why do you think the Hindi movie genre is still a robust genre?
One of the biggest reason is the fact that movie genre offers a large reach. If one looks at a media plan, the most critical thing is the reach. In India, after the GECs, it is the three large movie channels that give you the maximum amount of reach. Not every brand can buy GECs because of budget constraints. They buy a limited number of GECs and then supplement that with two to three movie channels. That potentially attains the objective of the reach. The reach of movie channel is almost at par with GECs. All movie channels deal on 50 per cent plus reach. Therefore, movie channels are an unavoidable part of media plan and investment.
From the ratings point of view, movie channels demand half of that of GECs. This is because movie genre does not have original content unlike GECs. Unless one really likes a movie, he/she does not see it. Because GECs serve fresh content, the time spent on GECs is much more than that of movie channels. One likes to watch it with appointment viewing.
The Hindi movie genre is cluttered with almost 10 players now. How are you planning to differentiate yourself?
We are already differentiated. All we need to do is be consistent in reinventing and branding our brand. We have to constantly ensure that we are best in what we do. Our content selection, acquisition and movie watching experience is good. Apart from movies, we are also trying to do other things – Extra shots challenge, Dirty khabar are such initiatives.
Has there been an increase in ad revenues for you in the last quarter?
To be on a safer side, there has been a 15-20 per cent increase in the quarter, which is very good.
By what percentage are you planning to hike your ad rates?
A 15- 20 per cent hike would be optimum throughout the year. One does not know what is going to happen in October, so it would be inappropriate to comment anything affirmatively. But the scenario will change drastically post October.
Where do you see the future of the Hindi movie genre?
With increased number of players, I only see more fragmentation happening. But it is a very important reality in this country. Films and cricket are an obsession here. So I don’t see a demand in the movies coming down. The entire marketing gamut around marketing films is getting bigger. Viewer’s interpretation of films is going to get bigger; at least in the LC1 market, it would be grand.
Do you agree that Hindi Movie genre is not interactive with its customers?
To a large extent, yes! We have to figure a smart way of doing it.
One of your competitors, ZEE, recently claimed of taking a step in that direction through its new movie channel. Are you trying to match up?
No. As of now, I am a little cautious and see what they are doing. I have to make sure I have the technology which is sharp enough to make the activity work real-time. But interactivity is here to stay. It is possible to do that in the music genre. How that can be done in the movie genre is yet to be seen. I’ll wait and watch and if there is learning, we all will be a part of it.
How much benefit does a movie channel derive out of repeated premieres?
If the movie cost can be recovered with repeated premieres, then not much can be done as most of the content is usually repeated. But what we need to do is be smart in exposing a film and not get carried away with the fact that the film delivers a rating every time it is aired. One has to resist that temptation of ratings.
The genre is very tight. It depends upon who has what title. If I have a film like Ashiqui, I get a rating of 150; if I don’t, it is 130. Similarly, STAR had Bodyguard; it became number one. Similarly with ZEE; so it is something periodical. It is too close.
What do you have to say about new system of ratings?
I think we have to give it some time. It has only been two weeks since TVT has come into being. We need to understand the reality behind the numbers, whether it is TRPs, GRPs or TVTs. I think it is going take some time to settle down. This is a settling phase. It would take some time for all of us to understand what will be the right way to take it forward.