We have a strong content acquisition strategy in place: Vaishali Sharma, Sony MAX

As the channel kicks off its 20th anniversary celebrations, we spoke to Vaishali Sharma, Head, Marketing and Communications, Sony MAX, on the brand’s marketing strategies and acquiring new content

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 31, 2019 8:29 AM

Sony MAX, the premier Hindi movie channel from Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), has completed 20 years of entertaining movie lovers. It was the first successful hybrid channel to showcase movies and sporting tournaments at the same time.

As the channel kicks off celebrations to mark its 20th anniversary, we spoke to Vaishali Sharma, Head, Marketing and Communications, Sony MAX, on the brand’s future marketing strategies, acquiring new content and what’s in store for viewers.

Sharma says that as a brand, Sony has been synonymous with innovation and distinctiveness, be it content, marketing initiatives or the brand itself. “We have been at the forefront of pioneering trend-setting concepts on Indian television Sony MAX was the first hybrid channel to showcase movies and sporting tournaments at the same time. We revolutionized the way India’s favourite sport cricket was presented and consumed, with the introduction of Indian Premier League and Extraaa Innings T20 in the year 2008. It heralded a new era in sports entertainment in the country. As the official broadcaster of IPL for 10 years, the channel has given some unforgettable campaigns like ‘10 Saal Aapke Naam’, ‘Ek India Happy Wala’ ‘India Ka Tyohaar’ and ‘Sirf Dekhneke Nahi’,” she adds.

Along with popular Bollywood titles, Sony MAX has also been a pioneer in bringing South Indian dubbed cult films to our homes, including the uber-successful ‘Baahubali’ series, ‘KGF’, Kanchana 3’ and ‘Yevadu’. It’s engaging and unique short-format originals like ‘Bittu Bak Bak’, ‘MAX Fully Deewaney’, ‘Producer Champaklal’ and ‘Dr. Pran Lele’ have been hugely popular.

Breaking free from the conventional realm, Sharma says Sony MAX has employed unique measures to propel growth and brand affinity, “Last year, in a bid to engage with viewers beyond their television screens, we had launched ‘Filmykaant’ television world’s first-ever artificial intelligence (AI) ChatBot in India.”

“Developed with an advanced NLP (Natural language processing) technology, ‘Filmykaant’ was Sony MAX‘s one of the many ways to stay connected with its audience through an unconventional route. Our focus has always been on providing the best to the audience and cinema lovers of India and we will keep continuing our efforts in this direction through our innovative initiatives by embracing new technologies.”

On whether there would be new acquisitions in terms of content besides the genres, already present in the channel’s library, Sharma says, “We have a strong acquisition strategy in place which is based on identifying trends and finding the right combination of movies which keep our viewers hooked on to our channel. In terms of new genres, we keep experimenting with newer content. A few years back we were one of the first Hindi movie channels to bring the trend of South dubbed movies on mainstream television. Today, it’s a big trend in the movie channel space. Hence, we will continue to experiment and our showcase movies that will enrich the overall family movie experience.”

As for the marketing plan devised for the coming financial quarter, Sharma says the focus is going to be around the celebration of 20 years as Sony complete two decades on October 12. “We have kick-started the celebration with the campaign Yeh Hai Desh Ki Deewangi and this campaign will be supported with extensive marketing and digital legs over the period of the next three to four months.”

Sharma denies that high consumption of sports channels on OTT platforms or even television channels will cast a shadow on the viewership of TV movie channels.

She concludes that Sony Max achieved the feat of being the number one Hindi movie channel for 148 weeks in a row, primarily because of the varied movie offerings. “What sets us apart is that we don’t treat it as a movie channel. It is a living, breathing brand whether it’s on-air or off-air it is always engaging."

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