Alokananda Chakraborty

SETMAX gets facelift; aims for top movie channel slot

As part of a larger revamping exercise, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has given its Hindi movie channel, SETMAX, a whole new look



On January 26, at 7 am, SETMAX, the movie and events channel of Sony Entertainment Television (SET), unveiled its new ‘on-the-air' look. It may be recalled that last November, parent channel, Sony, had undergone a similar facelift. And early next week, Sony will start airing two new serials - Dhadkan and Hubahu - in the primetime band.

So how do the three events tie-in? The moves are all part of a larger plan to revamp SET's offerings in all respects, with new formats, new genres, and new shows.

Changing the on-air look of MAX is in line with Sony's tradition of changing its packaging every two years. And MAX turned two very recently. Explains Rajat Jain, executive vice president and business head, MAX, "We are looking for a stylised look and feel, and a youthful attitude that is lively and fresh." The new-look design is the work of Hollywood-based design company, Belief, which won the assignment following a pitch involving seven other international design companies - five from the UK, and two from the US. Belief had also designed the channel packaging for AXN, SET's action channel, and the revamp of Sony's look in November 2000.

The new look is in tune with SET's desire to achieve the top slot in the areas of movies and cricket - especially movies - where MAX operates. "The new look on MAX is the beginning of a very sustained effort that will take MAX among the top five Hindi channels, and establish it as the firm leader among Hindi movie channels," Jain says. Of course, it's not going to be easy. According to INTAM, among the top 15 programmes on Zee Cinema, MAX and STAR Gold for week starting January 7, 2002, none of MAX's shows find a place. To turn the tide, the channel plans to be aggressive, and wearing a new outfit is the first step.

For MAX, turning the tide is crucial. The channel has not only been losing money, it has also lost talent. And close to a quarter of a million dollars, and six months of hard work, have gone into MAX's new appearance. If it succeeds in its aims, the money can be considered well spent.

But it's not just MAX's success that is at stake - it's the future and reputation of SET too. 2001 was bad for SET, with the company panting to stay neck-and-neck with Zee, having long given up on beating STAR. And if SET did succeed - and there are many who would dispute that - a lot of it had to do with the flailing fortunes of Zee. None of the 26 new programmes of Zee - launched after June 2001, when current group broadcasting CEO Sandeep Goyal took over - has made it to the Top 50.

But that isn't giving SET much comfort, for, in the last year, SET too has seen a fall in revenue, channels share, and advertising time sold. Things had looked up briefly when the channel beat KBC three weeks in a row with Kkusum (which hit TVR of 8.9) in December. But media analysts point out that KBC was declining in popularity anyway, and that the new shows of STAR have pushed Kkusum down.

However, this year, SET is planning a whole new lot of initiatives - stronger schedules, more thematic festivals, premiering several new shows, and concentrating on its distribution networks. Says Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, SET, "The hard work that we put in 2001 will bear results in 2002. And we do hope that 2002 will be a better year than 2001."

© 2002 agencyfaqs!

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