HBO hopes to retain dedicated viewers with HPL Season 2

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 08, 2010
As part of HPL, the movie channel has created special slots for sponsors, titled Googly, Full toss and Scoreboard

With IPL (Indian Premier League) round the corner, the movie channel HBO is busy giving a new meaning to 'Googly' and 'Full toss' by putting together the second season of its property, HPL (Hollywood Premier League).

In 2009, the English movie channel mounted the special property in a bid to attract movie watchers during the IPL season by shifting its original prime time movie slot from 9 pm to 11 pm. As part of the property, the channel showcased Bollywood blockbuster movies following the broadcast of the last IPL match (8 pm).

& #BANNER1 & #For movie channels including HBO, the 9 pm slot is a prime time slot, where the premier properties are usually mounted. As per TAM data, HBO just about managed to keep its viewers tuned into the channel during the IPL deluge last year. As per the TAM data during the pre-IPL period (March 12-April 17, 2009), HBO recorded an average TVR of 0.07 for the 9 pm slot. During the same period, the movie slot at 11 pm fetched an average TVR of 0.06.

In contrast, after shifting its premier property to the 11 pm slot during the IPL, HBO managed an average TVR of 0.05 for both 9 pm and 11 pm time bands (April 18-May 24, 2009).

TAM figures thus reflect that a sustained promotional campaign in the form of HPL helped the channel in retaining its core viewers.

Speaking to afaqs!, Shruti Bajpai, country head, India, HBO, says, "IPL is a craze with cricket loving Indians so it is out of question to compete with an event with the scale and popularity that IPL enjoys. Rather, our last year's experience with our property HPL motivated us to use the game of cricket itself to bring more information to viewers in a fun-filled way. At the same time, the property allows us to create additional sponsored slots for our advertisers."

Beginning March 9, HBO will launch its seasonal property, HPL. The channel has made an attempt to add a flavour of cricket to the movie viewing experience by introducing slots-concepts including Scoreboard (track the scores on box office and award hauls of the movies), Googly (movie trivia), Full-toss (best action scenes from HPL), Man of the Match (the top heroes of HPL), Catch Of the Match ('man getting the lady' scenes at the end of the movie from the HPL movies) .

The channel has got sponsors for individual spots such as Googly and Full-toss. It has roped in nine sponsors, including HUL Kissan (title sponsor), with Samsung Corby and PepsiCo 7Up as co-presenting sponsors. Besides these, the other advertisers on board are Hero Honda, Panasonic, Emirates, K-7 Computing, Tata Sky and Asian Paints.

The channel head refused to share the cost of sponsorship but added that the channel was mounting an impressive marketing plan to promote HPL, ensuring that advertisers get enough eyeballs with an encouraging number of viewers tuning into the channel for the movies.

As part of the media campaign, HBO has taken up advertising space in print publications such as Times of India, Mumbai Mirror (including the Bengaluru and Pune editions) and Mint Lounge. It has also taken up ad-spots on music and news channels including MTV, Zoom, NDTV 24x7 and Times Now.

Bajpai shares that HPL will showcase blockbuster movies such as 10,000 BC, Batman Begins, Get Smart, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Kung Fu Panda, The Fast and the Furious, The Incredible Hulk, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and You Don't Mess With The Zohan.

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