STAR Movies: Wise move?

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 03, 2012
STAR Movies has shifted the animation programming block to the afternoon slot. As it eyes its younger audience, it may be planning more dynamic programming for the prime time slot.

With the arrival of the summer vacation, STAR Movies has shifted its animation programming block from prime time to the afternoon slot. Last year, the channel telecast 'Animation Domination', a special programming block with animated movies at 9 pm every day, in the month of May.

The channel has shifted the animation block, christened 'Animation Festival', to the 1 pm afternoon slot, in an attempt to target the kids by giving them an option in the vacation season.

The movies that will be telecast in this period include Ice Age, Finding Nemo, Chicken Little, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Aladin, Christmas Carol, Toy Story-1, 2, 3, Fantastic Mr Fox, Mars needs Mom and Winnie the Pooh, amongst others.

P M Balakrishna

Moreover, the movies will be shown with a single ad break of 15 minutes.

afaqs! spoke to the industry insiders for their reactions on the move, and whether it will work for the channel.

P M Balakrishna, COO, Allied Media, says, "Strategically, it seems to be a well calculated decision. The channel mainly wants to garner kids' attention. Since it is summer vacations time, kids will be home and it can tap this younger audience in the age group of 4-14 years, which the animation programming is aimed at. At the same time, by engaging the prime time slot of 9 pm with a better and more dynamic programming, the channel must be looking forward to better monetisation."

He adds that the move should work for the channel as animation is more of a kids' genre in our country. Though families enjoy the genre as a whole, it is more of default viewing than viewing by choice. He further adds, "Also, IPL could be an additional dimension for this decision. It is definitely eating into GEC (general entertainment channel) and movie channels' shares."

Another media expert, who chose not to be quoted, says, "The two time bands have very different audience sets. May be the channel is targeting the kids who generally have control over the remote in the afternoon band. It may also be that the programming block showed repulsion in figures last year, due to the IPL, and the channel is taking a preventive step."

A senior media observer, says, "Across the genre, this time band is reserved for the popular titles or premieres. There is a lot of competition in the 9 pm band and the channel may have chosen to back the game with this strategy. Also, animation attracts more young audiences than family viewing. The former being more active on TV in the afternoon, the channel may have shifted the programming block."

The observer also states that the IPL must not have been a bigger reason for the shift, since it doesn't impact the channels much with newer seasons. "In any case, the competition between the IPL versus a movie is governed by the movie title, wherein animation must be lacking."

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