Movies Now has completed two years in the Indian market. Since its launch, the English movie channel has managed to dominate the ratings. In terms of channel share, Movies Now achieved 30 per cent in comparison to Star Movies (28 per cent), Sony Pix (17 per cent) and HBO (14 per cent). (Source: TAM, CS 15+, 8 metros, Week 52 ’10 - Week 39 ’12)
In conversation with exchange4media, Ajay Trigunayat, CEO, English Entertainment Channels, Times Television Network shares his perspective on Movies Now completing two years, the evolution of the English movie channel genre and the challenges faced by the channels in this genre.
What, according to you, were the important highlights of the year 2012 that will define the way forward for Movies Now per se now?
The last two years have been extremely rewarding for the channel. Since its launch, Movies Now has managed to dominate the ratings. In terms of channel share, Movies Now achieved a phenomenal 30 per cent in comparison to Star Movies (28 per cent), Sony Pix (17 per cent) and HBO (14 per cent). (Source: TAM, CS 15+, 8 metros, Week 52 ’10 - Week 39 ’12)
We have led the category since our launch and 2011-12 has seen immense growth in terms of reach, TSV, audience engagement and consequently revenue. The channel has also attained an astonishing 31 minutes of time spent per viewer, which is a testimony of the audience stickiness on the channel. Star Movies stands at 27 minutes, Pix at 21 minutes and HBO at 20 minutes (Source: TAM CS 15+, 8 metros, Week 52 ’10 - Week 39 ’12).
According to you, how has the channel augmented the growth of the EMC genre? What are the challenges primarily faced by channels in this genre?
If you look at the numbers, it can be observed that the channel has catapulted the entire category viewership by a whopping 50 per cent with an increase in GRPs from 50 to 74 points. The channel has also resulted in a phenomenal increase in reach from 46 million to 56 million viewers per week and also an increase in the TSV (Time Spent per Viewer) from 42 minutes to 55 minutes per week.
According to me, the biggest challenge faced by channels in the EMC genre is that nothing is global. Different channels have a strong foothold in different locations and are very specific to the local viewers of that place since the preferences vary with geography and locations.
Could you elaborate on the programming and marketing strategy of the channel?
We have effectively consolidated the programming strategy and made it effective. We have brought a lot of franchises such as the James Bond season franchise as well different properties around Diwali such as Bond Festival, Supermovie ‘300’, Boom Boom Blast, Fireworks and Diwali Divas, which telecast different genres of movies.
In terms of marketing, I believe that marketing spends go hand in hand with the product, which in our case is the content showcased on our channel. Marketing campaigns are extremely essential for brand building. Earlier, traditional media platforms were used to create a buzz regarding the programming line up. But going forward and with the advent of the digital media and social media, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are being used as part of the marketing campaign.
Also, the marketing spends earmarked for the different media platforms change with the constant change in consumer preferences. Hence, the pattern of spends keep on changing every quarter and so does the media mix.
In the two years of its existence, the channel has jumped to the top spot with 2.3 million fans on Facebook. It is in the top five leading brands on Facebook in India (in the media category) and in the top three fastest growing pages on Facebook in India (in the media category). The channel maintains a strong fan-following on Twitter with a lead of 13,000-plus followers.
With the advent of digitisation, does the channel have any plans to go ad free?
Not yet, since I believe that it is difficult to survive only on an ad free model or a subscription based revenue in the Indian televison industry. There might be a possibility of change, but only when the regulations are put in place.
What are your future vision and plans for the brand?
As the third year unfolds, we want maximum engagement with the audience and extending the genre further. There’s a lot to be done since it is not a niche channel. There needs to be a correction in the perception. Today, our reach is double that of the infotainment channels. The consumer reach is happening at the mass level and hence we look forward to bringing more content to our viewers as well undertake more promotional activities to create awareness. In 2013, the channel aims to strengthen its content and distribution and keep the audiences engaged with ground-breaking initiatives.