Sony Pix, the English movie channel from the MSM stable, has signed an output deal with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Studios for a period of three years starting May, 2013. As a part of the deal, the channel will get the satellite rights for about 50-60 movies annually from the US-based production house; of these, six-seven will be premiered in India (first telecasts in the country).
The association is the second such long term deal for the channel. The first one was with Sony Pictures Television, which was signed in 2010, when it was a relative newcomer in the genre. Apart from these two deals, there are also short term deals (depending on the movie titles).
Sony Pix was launched in April, 2006, and competes with channels such as HBO (launched in 2000), STAR Movies (launched in 1994), Movies Now (launched in 2010) and Zee Studios (launched in 2000). Some of its competitors have partnerships with three-four studios, each.
The movies that will be premiered on Pix in 2013 include Hobbit, 21 Jump Street, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, WOW, Skyfall and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (provided the clearances are acquired for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The channel has paid a licence fee to the production house for the duration of three years, and it doesn't need to share any margins on the advertising revenues earned.
It is learnt that the deal is expected to boost the channel's revenues and share by 30 per cent annually. Though Saurabh Yagnik, business head, Sony Pix chose to remain tight-lipped on the exact acquisition costs of the movies, he mentions that the costs of Hindi and English movies are not comparable.
"The Hindi GEC and movie channel space hovers in the range of 1600 GRPs, while that of the English movies is about 80-odd GRPs. Though the latter caters to metros and towns with more than a million population, thus, targeting premium audience, the reach is less. So, the costs too differ a lot," he explains.
He also states that interestingly, the window between the theatrical releases and the satellite telecast is decreasing, which is a good sign.
Yagnik confirms that the channel is currently scaling up investments in acquiring content. It is learnt that the channel invests about 50-60 per cent of its advertising revenue on content acquisition, annually. Pix is in talks with other studios for similar output deals, which should be finalised in the next two-three quarters.