STAR India has announced that it will launch its eighth channel in the English genre. Star Movies Action (SMAC) will be launched on June 2 with the tagline, Be a Hero. The channel will be launched on all the major direct-to-home and digital cable platforms across the country and target the age group of 15-34 years in cities and towns with more than one million population. The Indian band, Pentagram, has been roped in and has created an anthem, 'A Hero Will Rise', for the new channel.
Apart from these, in the month of its launch, the channel will have three premieres, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Chinese Zodiac and Taken 2.
The network already has content partnership deals with four studios, namely 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Walt Disney and Sony Pictures Television. Through these deals, STAR Movies (the other English movie channel from STAR India) has built up a library of close to 750-800 titles. The 300 titles of SMAC includes content from various other studios, too.
Kevin Vaz, business head, English channels, STAR Jalsha and Jalsha Movies at STAR India clarifies that there will be no interference or repetition of content between the two sister channels, STAR Movies and Star Movies Action. About the need to launch another movie channel, Vaz suggests, "There is a large male population that clearly wants some differentiated content tailored for them. If one analyses, 80 out of 100 top movies are action movies. We wanted to fill in the need-gap."
Typically, an English movie channel plays around seven-eight movies per day (including repeats). SMAC plans to telecast about 100 fresh movies a month, while the rest (100-150) will be repeats.
It is learnt that the channel will be launched with two programming blocks. While the block Gods of Action at 9 pm will focus on the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone and Vin Diesel, the other block is titled Action @11.
Interestingly, UTV Action, too, has exclusive action movie content but the movies on it are dubbed in Hindi. So, after the discontinuation of the signals of Fox Action Movies from the same group (STAR India), SMAC remains the only channel in the English action movie genre.
Launched in April 2012, Fox Action Movies was airing only martial arts-based movies and was not doing very well. Vaz clarifies that this is not a rebranding exercise. "SMAC is a new channel which was planned to fill in the need gap. Fox Action Movies is shut down for now," he adds.
The network hasn't yet finalised the ad-rates for the channel and has decided not to sell slots in the first month of the launch. Rather, the channel is on the lookout for partnerships, like the one between the network's recently launched channel Jalsha Movies with Vivel. From the second month onwards, the ad rates will be determined based on the performance of the channel.
The promotions for the new channel are already on-air on the network channels. The network will market on DTH platforms, cinema halls and the print platform. Social media is also an important part of the launch campaign.