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New launches to fragment English GEC audience

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New launches to fragment English GEC audience

The English entertainment genre, considered to be niche, is changing face. Digitisation and globalisation have propelled the growth of the genre.

There are many new channels entering the market. This will further fragment the audience, say experts.

Times Group recently launched Romedy Now, a new channel in the genre, which has players such as Zee Café and Star World. These channels cater to the audiences that are evolved, exposed and affluent in their tastes. Romedy Now claims to be the world’s first channel with a blend of comedy and love. As per the channel, it will cater to that section of the urban audience that boasts of high propensity to spend and who will welcome new and rejuvenated entertainment.

In an earlier interaction with exchange4media, Sunil Lulla, CEO, Times Television Network, had mentioned “Romedy Now is unique because the character of love and laughter has not been captured well before. It is a great blend of carrying the two emotions together. We, therefore, are not competing with Star World or any other English GEC as most of them are very series-oriented channels.”

He further added, “Romedy Now is a combination of movies and series. I think there is a unique positioning in this. Probably, we will get audiences from both, the movies and general entertainment genre.”

The content line-up in the channel includes movies such as Bride Wars, How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Two Weeks Notice, Sex & the City 2, P.S. I Love you, etc.

On the other hand, Star World, which is one of the leading channels in the English GEC space, is launching a new English general entertainment channel, Star World Premiere HD, to cater to Indian audiences who like to keep up with the seasons being watched on US television.

The new channel will air 26 new and returning shows, including Homeland (Season 3), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Sleepy Hollow, The Blacklist, Castle (Season 6), Revenge (Season 3) and Two and a Half Men (Season 11). Star World will continue to run the earlier seasons.

Kevin Vaz, GM – English and Bengali Channels, STAR India said “The channel is for the audience who has a global taste. We have constantly observed that people, who are passionate about these American shows in India, do not want to wait for six months before it is premiered in India. We capitalised this opportunity and this was our basis to launch the channel.”

Zee Café has also gone aggressive in its way of approaching the market. Sharlton Menezes, Marketing Head, Zee Café said, “The future of the genre is dependent on technology, marketing and positioning. The genre is confined right now to top three players including Zee café. Innovation and specialisation will be another key factor in the future.”

Anil Prabhakaran, a GEC columnist said, “It is not the right time to judge Romedy Now and Star World Premiere HD. Romedy Now was launched on Sep 22, while the latter is expected to be launched on Monday. Only the ratings will decide the future course. But considering Times Group’s history, it would be aggressive to capitalise and capture the market share. On the other hand, Star World Premiere HD has a backing of very good group, which already exists in the genre. Both the channels have their own USP. It would be interesting to watch them compete with the champions in this genre.”

Experts believe that Romedy Now and Star World Premiere HD are new channels that need to perform. They will fragment the market further, which is already very niche. Therefore, what would be interesting to see is whether the new entrants are able to drive the high quality viewership.

Market experts have also mentioned that the leading channels in the genre are betting high on the quality of their audiences. Since all of them cater to affluent, English speaking and well read audiences, the profile is perfect for marketers with high-end products. Channels accordingly pitch themselves.

Other channels in the English Entertainment genre are FX, Big CBS Prime, Big CBS Love, AXN and Comedy Central.


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