In tellydom what counts are the viewership numbers, and whether a channel is duplicating a competitor's strategy -- with minor changes, of course -- or charting its own course doesn't quite matter as long as the viewers troop in to sample the shows.
Over the last two-odd years, Hindi movie channel STAR Gold has carved a niche for itself with its dubbed Hollywood movie slot at 8.00 pm on Saturdays, and news is that rival MAX is also looking at something similar on Sundays at 9.00 pm.
Branded as Hollywood Hungama (STAR's slot is called Special Gold), MAX will kickstart the initiative by June-end with movies such as The Mask of Zorro, Jumanji, Bats and Hook.
The rationale, explains Rajat Jain, executive vice-president and business head, MAX, is to leverage the library of sister concern Columbia TriStar, which has one of the largest collections of movies in the world. "Dubbing of English movies, as far as theatrical distribution goes, is fairly common," he says. "And this strategy has worked well with Indian audiences. We are merely taking it to television, so I don't see why it won't work as a concept on TV as well."
The target audience of a dubbed Hollywood movie, typically, is the "vernacular segment", as in, people residing in metros, mini-metros and small towns, who are comfortable speaking Hindi.
And this segment, according to a senior media analyst based in Mumbai, comprises 70 per cent of the cable and satellite (C&S) population. "This is the segment that most advertisers, especially the ones with mass products, would be after. Hence, not surprisingly, dubbed Hollywood movies will have categories such as FMCG, automobiles and consumer durables advertising in a big way.
Viewership-wise too, dubbed Hollywood movies have performed well on the ratings chart, and quite naturally, MAX is keen on taking advantage of this quality. Titanic, the highest-rated dubbed Hollywood movie on STAR Gold notched up rating points of 5.39 in Hindi-speaking markets (Base population: C&S 4+; Source: TAM Media Research), drawing a record 11.4 million viewers on February 14, 2004 - the day of telecast.
Nine out of the top fifteen movies on STAR Gold over the last four months have been dubbed versions of Hollywood movies, and there is no doubting the fact that rival MAX would also like to see some such numbers come its way.
Apart from movies, the channel is also preparing itself for the ICC Champions Cup Trophy in September, and to this end, it will kick-off an eight-city, gully cricket initiative with star anchor and ambassador Mandira Bedi on June 19.
The on-ground promotion is primarily targeted at women, and Jain is hopeful of seeing a consequent rub-off of the initiative on the channel. "Extraaa Innings (the show that Bedi anchored during the World Cup 2003) got us significant female viewers, and we are hopeful of seeing a repeat performance this year as well." © 2004 agencyfaqs!