To attract sampling, Movies OK, the second Hindi movie channel from the STAR stable, adopted a launch strategy that involved telecast of seven movie premieres in seven consecutive days. The strategy was successful in creating buzz. Now, STAR plans to replicate the success story with its offering in the English movie genre, STAR Movies, which is also a leading channel in the genre. With the 7 Day 7 Premiere slot, STAR Movies will attempt to live up to its promise of 'Home to Hollywood Premieres'.
With the new strategy in place, the channel will have 11 movies premiering in March itself, a first in the English movie genre, suggests Rasika Tyagi, senior vice-president and content head, English channels, STAR India.
It is learnt that the channel has invested a considerable amount in Q2 of FY 2012-13 to acquire a large number of movies. Planners also suggest that the channel has shelled out higher amounts for recent movies such as The Avengers. The upcoming programming block also includes movies such as We bought a zoo, Naked Soldier, Marley and Me- The Puppy Years, The Next Three Days, One For The Money, Alvin & The Chipmunks 3 and The Sitter. Interestingly, only three of these have had theatrical releases in India.
Comparing the channel's shares within the genre in Weeks 1-9, 2013 to the corresponding figures in 2012, the channel shows growth of more than 2 percentage points (currently, it has 34 per cent share). It maintains a significant gap with its nearest competitor, currently HBO, which has 24 per cent market share.
Tyagi explains, "Though the audience base is very low as compared to Movies OK (which applied this strategy in the launch phase), English movies are still more watched and popular than English entertainment, English news or infotainment, for that matter. The Avengers was watched by close to six and a half lakh viewers across the metros." She confirms that the channel plans to increase ad-rates on the back of the movie acquisitions and premieres.
Interestingly, though STAR Movies claims it is aggressive on the premiere strategy, it will promote the block only on the five English channels of the network and through a digital campaign, which is already on.
It is pertinent to note here that pirated copies of Hollywood movies are easily available on the internet, in good quality, months after the theatrical release (most movies are released very late in India). Tyagi affirms, "Piracy is a problem that everyone is suffering from. But the main reason for this is the time lag between the theatrical release and the satellite premiere of the movies. Ideally, while this time gap is decreased for a Bollywood movie (2-3 months), it still remains about 10-11 months for Hollywood movies. The Avengers was the first and until now, the only movie to have appeared on television seven months after its theatrical release."
She reasons that though the DVD business has shrunk drastically for Bollywood movies, it still accounts for significant revenues in case of Hollywood movies.