It is no rocket science that the festival season holds a special significance in the broadcaster's scheme of things, given the fact that it is the time when people want to have fun or splurge or just laze around at home watching TV.
Most channels, irrespective of genres, work hard to try and get hold of this festive audience. English movie channels too are not far behind in the race.
Close on the heels of rival HBO announcing its plans for the forthcoming Diwali season, STAR Movies too has joined the bandwagon with its line-up of initiatives. These include big movies, extended hours of programming during Diwali and special Christmas and New Year screenings.
Besides, the channel has also chalked out a distinct Monday-Friday prime time line-up apart from The Big Two initiative on weekends as part of its strategy to galvanize overall viewership. The Big Two was flagged off last weekend, October 23-24, with the premiere of Daredevil and Underworld at 9.00 pm.
Forthcoming Big Two attractions include X-Men 2 and Bad Company (starring Anthony Hopkins) in December and Bruce Almighty and Scary Movie 3 in January. "We are basically taking one weekend in a month and blowing it up with two movies," says Ajay Vidyasagar, senior vice-president, marketing and communication, STAR India.
The initiative quite clearly is aimed at taking on The Big One on HBO, which happens once every quarter. Launched in January 2004, the HBO initiative "rated far above STAR Movies' Exclusive Saturday Premieres", say channel officials. In fact, buoyed by its success, HBO had two Big Ones in the second quarter including Men in Black II and Spy Game 3: Game Over.
STAR Movies, however, is no mood to relent and its 9.00 pm weekday band will have a variable offering, beginning with a superstar festival on Mondays, followed by the telecast of The Grid, an exclusive limited series on Tuesdays, the $100 million movie initiative on Wednesdays, Colours of India (a festival of Indian English films) on Thursdays and the Friday Night Premieres.
On offer are movies such as Just Married, The In-laws, Seabiscuit and The Human Stain in the Friday premiere slot, while big grossers such as Shrek and A Beautiful Mind go into the Wednesday slot. Mondays in the month of November, incidentally, will be devoted to Jackie Chan.
The channel, says Vidyasagar, has a library of about thirty Indian English movies and it is negotiating hard for the C&S rights of Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice.
Further, Steven Spielberg's The Terminal should be aired on the channel next year on the back of an exclusive tie-up to showcase the Hollywood director's movies in the country. STAR Movies has a similar tie-up with Manoj Night Shyamalan by virtue of which it was able to bring exclusive footage of 'The Village' before its officla release this year. The channel had also telecast 'Signs' and 'Unbreakable' in the last quarter.
Diwali programming will comprise a 100-hour movie marathon - up from 72 hours last year, while Christmas will be the time for movies - Bad Santa and Santa Claus 2.
New Year's eve will be characterized by James Bond flick Die Another Day, which is a repeat telecast. Vidyasagar, however, justifies the popularity of the franchise by indicating that inventory around it has been sold "in excess of 120 per cent", and going by this parameter, he is pretty bullish about the film's performance.
© 2004 agencyfaqs!First Published : October 25, 2004