Broadcasters are definitely seeing more potential in the English movie channel space with the rollout of Sony Pictures Networks India’s second channel in this category called Sony Le Plex HD to strengthen its positioning in this cluster. The channel boasts of 400 plus movie titles that include 200 award winning movies. Earlier Hollywood movie consumers were greeted with Movies Now 2, Times Network’s third English movie channel offering.
Saurabh Yagnik, Executive Vice-President and Business Head, English Cluster of Channels, Sony Pictures Networks India, elaborates on the need of this premium offering, “The growth of Hollywood cinema in India has resulted in segmentation of audiences into two distinct categories. One, being the mainstream cinema offering action and special effects movies, while the other is the non-mainstream cinema that focuses on the storyline, plot and the acclaim of the movie. The market for non-mainstream cinema is currently underserved in our country and Sony Le Plex HD aims to cater and own this segment. The channel will not only showcase critically acclaimed films but also build an ambience around them that creates great conversations. We don’t want to showcase pure play on the basis of what titles we have but create an environment which is much more distinguishing than just the product.”
He adds, “We have a unique channel packaging which brings alive the true ‘plex experience’ within the comfort of your home through slots like ‘The Night Show’ and ‘The Noon Show’. There are content properties which will build a community of movie lovers. That’s the combination that we believe distinguishes us from other players in the space.”
On being asked why he specifically went for HD, Yagnik answers, “The affinity to the kind of movies that we show for the Hollywood loyalists, there is more probability of getting them on HD space. So it’s a very targeted audience. Also from our market assessment it makes a lot more sense to go HD than include standard definition.”
The channel, with the brand tagline Where You Belong, will cater to avid English movie lovers with critically acclaimed Hollywood cinema. “For our content strategy, we had to find movies around our filter of critically acclaimed movies. Over the last two to three years we have doubled our investment in content and we are now leveraging it across this channel offering.”
When it comes to programming properties there’s Le Premiere, wherein one can catch 52 premieres in 52 weeks of the year. That includes Academy Award winning movie ‘Spotlight’, ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Foxcatcher’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’, among others. The magicians slot will showcase the movies and what happens behind-the-camera of them.’ “It will be about the people who made the movies. We will do wrap around programming around it. It will be a package which will cue conversation.”
Being an HD channel Sony Le Plex is looking at premium brands across various categories who targets similar kind of audience. “Advertisers will come on board in less than a month or even earlier since we have a winner in our hands,” the business head is hopeful.
On marketing front the channel roped in talented writer and director Zoya Akhtar as their ambassador for their campaign which has been rolled out on television. Yagnik specifies, “We have invested aggressively in the campaign. It’s television, digital and print. Digital is a year-on engagement. There’s an aggressive social media plan with tools like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where we will populate and popularise the content.”