Movies Now to focus on cities with one million plus population

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 16, 2011
The channel also plans to increase its ad rates by about 33-43 per cent. According to market estimates, it currently charges Rs 3,000 for a 10-second spot.

Now that the Lok Sabha has passed the second bill to amend the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, which aims to replace the ordinance circulated in October, Movies Now has decided to focus on the smaller cities beyond the metro region.

The English movie channel from the Times Television Network, which currently focusses only on the eight-metro market, will expand its distribution footprints to cities with population over one million May 2012, in an attempt "to break the myth" that the English movie channel genre is only consumed in metros. For the record, according to the Census, there are 53 urban agglomerations in India, with a population of one million or more as of 2011.

The channel, however, informs that since currently TAM follows the 2001 Census, which counts 35 cities with a population of one million plus, the initial distribution rollout will happen only in the cities which are monitored by TAM.

"We expect TAM to expand into more markets according to the latest Census numbers in the next one year. And, as that happens, we will also expand our footprints," says Ajay Trigunayat, channel head, Movies Now. "Today, almost 68 per cent of Movies Now's total viewership comes from the metros, while 32 per cent come from the smaller towns. However, we believe that the English movie channel category is a mass product. We will now focus our energies on towns and cities with a population of one million plus," says Trigunayat.

The move, Trigunayat notes, will not just help the advertising potential for its existing and new clients, but with digitisation in place, it will also help the channel churn out subscription revenues. "Currently, almost 100 per cent of our revenue is generated through advertising," he says.

Meanwhile, with the expansion to smaller towns and cities, Movies Now will increase its ad rates by about 33-43 per cent. According to market estimates, the channel, with about 200 advertisers on board, currently charges Rs 3,000 for a 10-second spot.

With an increase in ad rates and a new-found focus on subscription, the channel intends to improve its revenues by an estimated 35-40 per cent by the next fiscal. Industry experts estimate the current earnings of the channel in the range of Rs 20-30 crore.

Times Television Network also plans to launch fresh channels in 2012 in a bid to strengthen the overall channel bouquet and help the network command better ad pricing from the market, as well as support its distribution build.

Unwilling to divulge any details, Sunil Lulla, managing director and chief executive officer, Times Television Network, tells afaqs!, "Now that the cable digitisation bill has been passed, we are looking at launching fresh channels in 2012. However, nothing is fixed yet as all are subject to government approval. The move will not only help generate more revenues for the overall network, but also enable better subscription with reach."

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