Even as 2011 has seen significant changes in the English entertainment genre per se, the English movies genre has given the industry something to talk about. Ever since its launch in December 2010, Movies Now, the English movie offering from Times Television Group, has created quite a stir in the industry, and the year 2011 has seen the channel’s market share grow extensively, keeping it on the top of the genre.
According to TAM Media Research data, for the TG C&S 15+ in the 1 million plus markets, including metros, in the last 12 weeks, Movies Now has further widened its gap from channels such as Star Movies, which had otherwise been leading the genre, and HBO. What makes this more interesting is the fact that the channel works with library titles rather than the ‘first on television’ or ‘television premiere’ route.
Movies Now entered the market with the hypothesis of creating a “high-quality” library and orchestrating content. The proposition was based on viewership patterns of the genre, and if ratings are anything to go by, the channel’s theory has been validated. The true challenge however begins now, as the genre itself has seen substantial changes and going forward, the requisite would be to understand these changes, and re-learn the genre, a point that Ajay Trigunayat, Channel Head, Movies Now, agrees with whole-heartedly.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Trigunayat said, “Given the tremendous category growth of 60 per cent, there is significant new learning across markets, on audience preferences and viewership patterns. We are analysing these constantly and re-working our plans accordingly.”
Some interesting changes the genre witnessed in the last five months included both 9 pm and 11 pm slot giving equal viewership for English movie genre and the trend being true for weekends and weekdays. This was not the case with the genre earlier. “And there has been a significant increase in non-primetime viewership,” added Trigunayat.
Movies Now’s plans from here, revolves around the ambition of building on its current 35 per cent market share, and getting it to 39-40 per cent. “The next two months,” cautioned Trigunayat, “will go into understand what is happening.”
The 2011 road
One aspect that Trigunayat is clear about is, given the dynamic phase the category is in, it is not possible to adopt an “advance planning process”. But the broad plan includes the focus on increasing distribution width and reach, brand salience and creating greater channel affinity with various content and marketing activities with greater consumer focus.
The channel’s special properties would play a key role in it. At present, the channel has some fixed properties such as ‘Moviethon’, ‘Love Boat’, ‘Grand Nights’ and ‘Ultra Quantum’. As the channel revisits several aspects, one change expected in the future is discontinuation of ‘Ultra Quantum’. “It has not given us expected results, and we do intend to come up with an alternate for that,” divulged Trigunayat.
Some of the other special properties that clicked for the channel in the last few weeks were ‘Rocky Reloaded’ and ‘Shaolin Masters’, where most titles of the festival featured in the top 10 movies in the genre.
Trigunayat informed, “The average TVR for the Rocky Festival was nearly 163 per cent higher than competition in our core TG and market (SEC AB 15-34, 8 metros, week 3 ’11 to week 8 ‘11). Each Rocky blockbuster outperformed competition week-on-week during the campaign period from January 13 to May 17, 2011. Even in the case of Shaolin Masters, the average slot TVR for the festival was 0.21, which was almost 122 per cent higher than our closest competitor.”
The channel has recently launched a property ‘Showstoppers’ in the weekday 11.00 pm band and for its weekends, the channel is augmenting its property ‘Neutronite’. Movies Now is contemplating converting both ‘Showstoppers’ and ‘Neutronite’ into annual properties that would air on a weekly basis.
For its distribution, since the inception of the channel, Movies Now has maintained an eight-metro focus. “We will continue to push the envelope on this, as we believe there is much more potential in the category than what has been exploited. We will continue our eight-metro focus and 1 million+ towns,” said Trigunayat. He added, “Individually, we are leading across all key metros – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad and considering the positive trend we are optimistic to catch up in Hyderabad and Pune soon.”
Apart from its mass media marketing route, Movies Now intends to maximise its media alliances this year. However by Trigunayat’s own admission that is one area of challenge, due to the decreasing cost-effectiveness of on-ground media alliances. He explained, “We have been able to do some good work on-ground -- whether it was Shaolin menu at Aromas of China or the Rocky gym training boxing bag at Golds Gym or a spotlight contest at Big Cinemas, but this has now become an industry in itself, and now it has become too expensive. While this is a mutually benefitting exercise - we benefit from footfalls there and they benefit from the experience that can be created – but we need to consider what our way forward should be on this.”