Multi Screen Media's English movie channel has plans to be high on consumer recall and stay consistently in the top two slots in the genre hierarchy. And it is doing all it can to get there.
In a brand new initiative this time, the channel is offering "money can't buy" merchandise. For instance, it will give viewers a chance to own the T-Shirt worn by Tom Hanks in the Oscar-nominated drama, 'Captain Phillips', which premieres on the channel on July 27. After that, the blood stained shirt and tie worn by Jamie Foxx in the movie White House Down will also be up for grabs. All this comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Saurabh Yagnik, head - English Cluster, MSM says, "When I had joined, I had set three objectives - invest in content, build perception and innovate to break clutter." In order to build perception, the channel did some of the biggest marketing campaigns for Men In Black 3, Spiderman, Hobbit and Skyfall.
"We are getting Hollywood stars to persuade viewers to watch the movie, For instance, to promote MIB, we got Will Smith to ask people to watch the movie on Pix. We broke away from the usual "come and watch this movie" style," Yagnik adds.
The Facebook page of Sony PIX has over two million fans. The channel follows the principle of keeping the viewer at the core and evolves strategies through insights into their behaviour.
As per the data, provided by the channel, the engagement rate of Pix on FB is 11-13 per cent, on an average, for past six months. The channel has created micro-properties on FB like Legendary Monday (inspiring stories from the world of celebrities), Thoughtful Tuesday (quotes by celebrities), Pixonomic Wednesday (interesting facts about box office collections), Pix Desi Thursday (clash of the worlds between Bollywood and Hollywood), Superhero PIX Friday (all about superhero/action heroes), Saturday Talks (famous movie dialogues) and Gizmo Sunday (all about gadgets).
The channel recently re-launched its animated character 'Notty Pixy' with a FB property called 'Notty Pixy Breaking News'. It even had a contest, wherein Notty Pixy gives away 100 'First Day First show' tickets to the winners. The channel is continuing with 'Pix Premiere Nights' property, during which it gives - after a contest - around 2,000 people a chance to watch a movie a day before the rest of the country does. Pix claims to get 16,000-20000 entries for this contest.
Content is King
According to Yagnik, last year the channel had premiered three of five big movies released. Sony Pix has an output deal with Sony Pictures and MGM as well as on-going tie-ups with production houses like Paramount and Lionsgate.
The channel, in the past 18 months, premiered movies like Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hobbit and Skyfall. MIB3 and The Amazing Spider-Man were the top rated premieres in the genre, in the year 2013. Sony Pix even has a property called 'Premiere Pixathon' in which it premieres four back-to-back movies. In a first, there was a day marked with four back-to-back premieres called Premiere PIXathon. The channel airs nearly 25 movies a year. For 2014, the movies in the pipeline include Captain Phillips, The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Hercules.
According to the channel, programming slots like HandPIX, PIX Doubles and PIXathon helped it get a surge in ratings as well as the differentiation in the category. In the last quarter (April-June), the channel occupied the leadership position in 6 out of 13 weeks. It also was the No.2 ranked player in the overall standings (from April 14-June 14), with a 19.30 per cent share in viewership. The leader, Star Movies, had a19.8 per cent share in the genre.
During prime time, Sony Pix claims to be the leader in the genre with a viewership share of 23.6 per cent, followed by Star Movies with 17.9 and HBO with 14 per cent (source: TAM data provided by the channel; market - All India, 1 million+; TG: C&S 15+ AB; Period:Week 14-26, 2014).
For the record, Sony PIX is now available in High-Definition with Sony PIX HD. The channel is available on platforms such as Dish TV, Hathway, Fastway and In Cable.