AXN, the English general entertainment channel from Sony Pictures, has announced five new shows to be launched within a span of one month.
The first season of Elementary, according to AXN, made it the slot leader in the Monday-Thursday 10 pm slot with a relative share of almost 50 per cent in the English GEC genre (basis six weeks' average viewership).The first season was aired in India during the end of January, and the second one will be launched in the same week as its US launch.
Commenting on the property, Arpit Mankar, programming head, AXN, says, "We have built Sherlock Holmes as a character and as a brand on our channel with BBC's Sherlock. The feedback that we got was really good and people wanted more of Sherlock. Hence, we went on to acquire Elementary, which is an American take on Sherlock Holmes from CBS. Season 1 of the show was promoted on the back of Sherlock and the cricket series that was being played on our network and we got amazing results. While we were a bit sceptical because BBC Sherlock had set a high benchmark, the show exceeded our expectations as it gave us 50 per cent share of the 10 pm slot in the genre."
The second show that the channel has lined up is 'Orphan Black', a thriller about a young con woman who discovers she has several clones. Premiering on April 25, the show will occupy the 9 pm slot.
"We had built Orphan Black Season 1 as a daily strip. The show was awarded 'Most Under-rated show award' and also made it to the 'top 10 shows' list last year. It did very well for us and hence we are getting back the second season in the same week as its US telecast," Mankar adds.
The ninth season of the American thriller, 24 will be launched on May 9 at the 10 pm slot. The new season, 24: Live Another Day, is a 12-episode series that is coming after a gap of four-and-a-half years after Season 8. AXN will also bring back all seasons of 'Sex and the City' to television from May 12 onwards, at the 11 pm slot.
The new offering from the channel will be Hawaii Five-0, which will be aired first season onwards. Launching on May 12, the show will go on till its fourth season, which will also feature a special episode with Mallika Sherawat.
Is the aggressive line-up a response to the perceived threat from IPL? "IPL will be there, but it's cyclical in nature. Typically, IPL's trend has been that in the initial couple of weeks there is a burst in ratings and then the interest settles down in the middle phase. When you look at primetime night, there are certain slots where you see peaks and others where there is slight exit of audiences. The first inning of IPL is over by 9.45 pm and then the viewers watch it around 11 pm or so. This is a reason why we thought we'll continue with our lives. The viewership doesn't get hit so badly during IPL. While you'll see drop in certain slots, you'll also see gain in others."
According to the channel, 24 has been a legendary international series with more than 74 nominations and now bigger in India with the local version reaching 106.2 million viewers across India. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer has become a part of the cultural lexicon.
Targeting Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru, the emphasis of the marketing campaign for 24: Live Another Day is on mass media as the series has a wider appeal after the launch of the local version. Various media will be used through the launch and sustenance period, including cab branding across Delhi, bus side panel branding across Mumbai, hoardings at key locations in Mumbai and Delhi, and Metro branding in Bengaluru. Additionally, there will be cinema promotions across India for a month on 40 screens along with promotions on English and regional channels. There will be print ads in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai (front page in leading publications on May 9).
Since the series (24) is coming back after four years and this time it is set in London, the online campaign will revolve around people hunting for Jack and his new location through various engagement activities while announcing that Jack Bauer is back. The campaign will run across Facebook and Twitter for three-four weeks.
There is also something called 'Jack is Back Special'. This is a four segment special on the series (22 minutes in duration) which will be shown on-air and on social media. The initiative is specifically for 24 loyalists and aims to feed their anticipation for the series.
AXN has undertaken a targeted marketing campaign for Elementary Season 2 with on-air and social media as primary media. In 'Warm Up for Elementary 'on social media, fans don the detective's hat to solve mysteries around popular AXN characters. Simultaneously, the channel builds the characters of Sherlock and Watson, and reveal how they are different in Elementary as against any other Sherlock movie/show.
For Orphan Black Season 2, the campaign is running on Facebook and Twitter. The campaign was launched through a jigsaw puzzle engagement activity asking people to guess which show is back on AXN. This was followed by a build up on Tatiana Maslany and the awards and critical reviews that she has received. A 'Clone Club' activity and content around the bonds of the various characters of the show is also on the cards.
Hawaii 5.0 will be promoted on-air and on social media; the detailed plan for it is yet to be announced.