Come Sunday, November 3 and Star Gold will have a new look - nimbu maar ke. Yes, this is going to be the baseline of Star Gold effective forthcoming makeover. The channel is moving away from being a 'classic-movie channel' to being a contemporary movie channel.
However the plan is, not to completely do away with old Hindi movies, but to bring contemporary Hindi movies to the channel as well. Says, Tarun Katiyal, VP, Programming, Star TV, "We started the first classic cinema channel in India. And now we want to break boundaries and go contemporary. However, it is more of an inclusive strategy, than a restrictive strategy. We are not walking away from old movies, but are going to add more and more present day cinema to give that extra punch to the channel".
There is already a clutter of contemporary Hindi movie channels. In addition, mainline entertainment channels also have slots for Bollywood movies. Would it not be an uphill task for Star Gold to establish itself as yet another contemporary movie channel? Says Katiyal, "I am aware that there is surfeit of Bollywood products on C&S networks today. Our attempt is to build a differentiator in the category, in terms of promotion, packaging and scheduling. Everything on the channel is going to be nimbu maar ke. There is definitely a space for you if you have a USP". In the pipeline is a filler - Javed Jaafri Flash Back, and also a countdown programme by Neelam and Ruby Bhatia - Ooh la la style. Channel also plans to have an ongoing 'Win the Gold contest' to build interactivity with the viewers, as well as a slew of other events.
The channel claims that it would have some major strengths vis-vis competition. Some of them being: best of Hollywood movies dubbed in Hindi, which would be shown on Saturdays, a kids' slot on Saturday mornings and a Double Bill slot on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Says Katiyal, "Super Star Double Bill - the international TV format is going to be introduced on Indian television for the first time." In addition to it, the channel would have a monthly theme indicated by new movies shown on Sunday evenings. These movies, to be shown in Solid Gold category, would either be endorsed by the star or another famous personality. There would be a personalised lead-in to these movies.
Whatever be it called, but don't you get to watch a Bollywood movie on almost every channel sooner or later? Katiyal agrees that movies are likely to be shown on other channels in course of time but not all of them, and not in a hurry! Says he, "There would be movies that won't be shown on any other channel - we are pretty particular about the rights we buy - they are quite long term. If Star shows a movie - it doesn't get shown on any other channel for about five years".
The special focus is, of course, going to be on the weekends with a lot of special slots, and the plans to show the best of movies on Saturdays and Sundays.
Is the strategy brewed in a short time-span considering the competitors' moves or is it the result of long term planning? Katiyal explains "When we started Star Gold, we were clear that we would take it contemporary in a couple of years' time - it is just a shift of couple of months. And Star Gold has done extremely well for a classic channel. Week before last, Star gold's share in its current format was equal to Zee Cinema's share. And now we expect to take a huge leap as we go ahead with our plans".