Movies and events channel MAX is betting on prime time to keep it in the race for the No 1 spot even as leader ZEE Cinema concentrates on the big picture by looking at different other slots besides prime time. In recent months, MAX, has devoted much of its energies in building Super Cinema, its branded block between 9.00 pm to 12.00 pm, even as ZEE Cinema continues with its "slot-by-slot" approach focusing on the 5.00 pm slot in June with Har Shaam Bajenge Paanch, followed by the 10.00 am slot in August with 31 Days 31 Smiles and the 1.00 pm slot in October with Ek Bajega Ekdum Style Se.
The strategy quite clearly is to capitalise on different audiences tuning into the channel, which was asserted by Yogesh Radakrishnan, business head, ZEE Cinema and Music, in an earlier interview with agencyfaqs! "We want to concentrate on certain slots and understand what our audience needs are," he had said.
Rajat Jain, executive vice-president and business head, MAX, however, is of the opinion that prime time is what drives overall growth given that it sees the highest amount of viewership for a movie channel. "From a sponsor as well as viewer point of view, prime time is very important; from a leadership point of view too, its importance cannot be ruled out," he says.
This concerted effort to capitalise on maximum viewership and reach has ensured that the channel is ahead of the pack comprising ZEE Cinema, STAR Gold and B4U apart from MAX, in terms of ratings, claims Jain. "In Hindi-speaking markets within a base population of C&S four plus, MAX averaged a TVR of 0.92 for the first quarter of April, May and June during prime time," says Jain. "ZEE Cinema, STAR Gold and B4U, on the other hand, stood at 0.87, 0.47 and 0.14," he adds.
For the second quarter of July, August and September, MAX's average TVR during prime time stood at 1.08 while competition stood at 0.85 (ZEE Cinema), 0.71 (STAR Gold) and 0.14 (B4U), claims Jain. "Quite clearly, we are leading," he says, "And our strategy is to continue building on our strengths," he adds.
Part of its success during prime time can be attributed to MAX slotting its blockbusters at 9.00 pm besides increasing its line-up of big movies. "From one Maha Movie, we have moved to two Maha Movies since September," says Jain.
Some months back the channel introduced Extraa Shots during prime time, which is a show dealing with trivia and little known facts about a film. Hosted by Mandira Bedi, it is telecast over Friday to Sunday. "Extraa Shots is a follow-up to Extraa Innings," says Jain, "And we will continue to innovate and come up with the best product," he adds.
Indeed, the channel has focused on packaging, presentation and promotions in a big way to try and woo audiences. "Movies are what they are," says Jain. "It is essentially packaging, presentation and promotions that makes the difference," he adds.
Apart from the 9.00 pm slot, the channel has monthly thematic festivals during the 5.00 pm slot with subjects varying from action movies in July, comedies in August, a villain's special titled Bollywood's Most Wanted in September, and romantic movies under the banner of Kambhatq Ishq in October. November, incidentally, will be devoted to hit celluloid pairs in Jodi No 1, but Jain maintains that the evening slot is second on his priority list.
"We are in no hurry," he says. "Building prime time is crucial to us and the idea is to build stable and solid brands." © 2003 agencyfaqs!