Close after Life OK's second anniversary, Movies Now is ready to celebrate the completion of its third year. The channel grew to popularity almost suddenly, by capturing the top spot in the genre shortly after its launch.
The channel plans to launch about six programming blocks in the first three months of the fourth year of its operations.
It has planned for the telecast of the TV series, Crisis, an action series similar to 24. The channel had experimented with the format when it launched Terra Nova (similar to the Jurassic Park series).
Ajay Trigunayat, CEO, English channels, TTN, adds, "The response to Terra Nova was good. We have shied away from doing the series but we experimented with it between September and October this year and the response was encouraging. As part of the deal that we have with the studios, we can take up TV series and hence we are bringing Crisis after we became confident about it, post testing waters with Terra Nova."
Crisis will be simulcast on the channel, along with the US market.
Movies Now was launched in December, 2010 and it climbed up to the top position for the first six-seven months. Trigunayat explains that during this time, Movies Now was at 32 per cent, ahead of STAR Movies with 24 per cent and Pix and HBO put together at 14 per cent.
The first nine months (November 2011-September 2012), STAR Movies and Movies Now were neck to neck. About a year before digitisation, Movies Now was on the top for most weeks. But the difference between STAR Movies and Movies Now was very small.
Trigunayat agrees that post digitisation, the channels' numbers started flickering. He adds, "I have always maintained my voice that I feel there are a lot of anomalies in the TAM data. I think the rating system needs to set right for getting accurate numbers on niche channels since the numbers are small."
The first in the many movie blocks planned by the channel is called FAB 5, with movies like Knight and Day, Ocean's Thirteen and Hangover.
Nerves of Steel will be telecast from Monday to Thursday at 9 pm and showcase movies such as Unknown, Clash of the Titans, Unstoppable and Ninja. The third block is Strike Force to be telecast on Sundays at 9 pm with movies such as Batman Begins, Superman Returns, Green Lantern and Fantastic Four.
The channel will also telecast exclusive premiere movies. The few ones in the list are Tai Chi Zero (a recent martial arts movie), Mr Go (that revolves around a gorilla and a small kid). Along with this, the channel will continue with its annual property, Badge of Courage, on January 26.
In February, there will be a comedy festival called LOL telecasting Hangover series and Madagascar. It will telecast a total of 11 movies from Monday to Thursday at 9 pm.
The next exclusive premier will be Troy, which will be seen in the Indian screens in HD for the first time. It will also bring the entire Harry Potter franchise (all eight parts) across February and March.
In March, the channel will telecast the sixth level of Shaolin Masters, a movie block with the best of Shaolin movies. This season will have 16 new martial arts titles. Next in line are blocks such as Holi Hangover and Atmos-Fear, an annual movie-block which will be a combination of thriller and horror.
In March, there's another big property, Star Wars, showcasing the complete franchise of the series. The innovative part is that it will be promoted in a way that it is relevant for the Indian audiences.
From the networks perspective, the aim will be to improve the reach of the channel post digitization. For the next six months, it plans to continue providing great blockbuster content. On a long term perspective, the channel is looking at refreshing the programming line up with new content.