English movies or English news?

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | July 31, 2009
STAR Movies wants to break the myths in the minds of the agencies and advertisers about English movie channels

While every TV channel would like to grab a lion's share of the advertising pie, advertisers look at various factors - such as reach, time spent, GRPs and perception -- before deciding to advertise on a channel. STAR officials add that myths about certain genres abound too, which lead to a faulty media plan.

In a discussion about busting myths, Jyotsna Viriyala, vice-president, programming, STAR Movies and STAR World, said that the industry was plagued with misconceptions about the English movie genre vis-à-vis the English news genre. She listed nine of these and proved why they were myths.

The first one was that English news is watched more than English movies. Viriyala said that the English movie genre was twice the size of the English news market. She supported this with data from TAM, which suggests that the size of the former was 1.29, while the latter was 0.64 (TG: seven metros, SEC AB, Weeks 1-29). She further claimed that STAR Movies was, in fact, bigger than the top two English news channels put together, in terms of weekly share.

That English News channels deliver higher amongst the core male TG (25+ age group) was also a myth, according to her. The perception is that English movie channels are driven by time spent, while English news channels enjoy higher reach, and are, therefore, better for frequency buys. However, Viriyala said that even at reach level, STAR Movies stays ahead of news channels across TGs.

She also stated that contrary to popular perception, there isn't much difference in the audience profiles for English movie channels and news channels. As per their research, there was more than 50 per cent duplication of audiences in both genres.

The reaction from the industry was mixed. For Basabdutta Chowdhuri, chief executive officer, Platinum Media, the English movie genre commands a much wider reach than English news. "Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan cut across demographics. One needs to know the language to watch an English movie, making it a widely watched genre. Whereas English news requires one to understand the language," she explains.

According to her, while English news caters to the crème de la crème SEC A1+ audiences, English movies cater to SEC A and B audiences.

Nikhil Rangnekar, executive director, India - West, Starcom believes that news has wider appeal in the minds of media agencies and advertisers. His rationale was that perception-wise, all "serious" brands preferred to appear on English news channels, rather than on English movies. These include life insurance, mutual funds and banks. Luxury and premium brands prefer English movie channels to talk to the consumers. "The audience profiles of both the genres are fairly similar. Moreover, CPRPs in these genres do not make sense; so, it is largely perception driven," he states.

Rohini Gauthaman, vice-president, planning, Lintas Media Group says that news and movies have different audiences altogether. "English news viewers are mature and consider it a necessity to watch news; while English movie watchers are more entertainment driven, and the group includes the younger crowd as well," she reasons. While the movie genre is more title driven in terms of planning, news is a daily fix, she adds.

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