Sony Entertainment Television’s new English movie channel PIX will be launched on April 1, 2006. This was announced at a function in Mumbai by special invitee and Hollywood actor Will Smith. According to Sony’s Sunder Aaron, this was an indication of the fact that the channel would be a premium Hollywood channel, directed at Hollywood fans.
“There is a large audience in India for this genre,” said Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, SET India, “Even though there are other channels in the English movie genre already, we are hoping to cater to the needs of these audiences and in the process create our own distinct identity. The channel further strengthens our already strong suite of SET India channels.”
Geetanjali Morare is the programming head of the channel, while a marketing head will be finalised soon. N P Singh, COO, SET India, informed that the marketing campaign of the channel was set to break in two weeks and would continue till the launch and in the post launch phase of the channel.
Even though the channel has an advantage of drawing on content from Sony Movies, which has titles from Columbia and MGM, Aaron explained that this did not limit them from using properties from other media houses.
Elaborating on how the channel would differentiate itself, Aaron said, “We are going to focus on telling great stories, that is the whole idea of the channel – to present movies with gripping tales – and in the process, we hope the viewer will develop a kinship with the channel. We are working hard for it to be the preferred choice when people talk about English movie experience on television.”
The channel will also delve on programming techniques of movie festivals and themes and at the same time concentrate on creating different day parts – afternoon, early evening and primetime.
“The festivals need not just be on stars or genre, they can be some thing like ‘Movies made in Holywood’ or ‘Movies with love stories gone awry’ – they can be just about anything, and we are going to play with programming enough to ensure that we have something very unique and interesting for our viewers.”
Meanwhile, speaking on his visit to India, Will Smith said, “I have a strong relation with Sony Pictures for several years and when the opportunity was presented to me to visit India, I saw it as a prospect to help strengthen Hollywood ties here. India is becoming a superpower on the world stage and I wanted to experience its entertainment industry firsthand. Sony Entertainment Television is popular here and I am very thrilled that they invited me to launch their new channel.”
Apparently Smith would be doing more than that for the channel. He would also be seen on the February 27 episode of ‘Indian Idol’.