Viveat Susan Pinto

Irfan to bowl for Sony's Animax

The channel will be visible in the top five metros

Animax, the animation channel from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), has been positioned as a youth entertainment channel.

"Teenagers and young adults between 15-24 years will be the core target audience of the channel, followed by kids and adults," says Todd Miller, managing director, Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI), who is also managing director of Sony Pictures' network channels in Asia - AXN and Animax".

Programming on the channel, launched on Monday, has been divided into four primary blocks each targeting a distinct viewer segment.

The Kids Hour extending from 3-7 pm on weekdays is targeted at children between 7 to 14 years, with an emphasis on learning and having fun.

The Youth Hour follows next from 7-9 pm on weekdays targeting teenagers 15 years and above. Programming in this time band is skewed towards animation entertainment, fantasy and science fiction, says Miller.

The Mega Zone is next in line extending from 9-11 pm on weekdays, with the best of popular animation telecast during this period, he says.

Weekend Anime is the fourth programming block, with shows such as Arjuna and Astroboy, telecast on Saturdays and Sundays between 11 am and 12 noon.

Content on the channel, incidentally, has been sourced entirely from Japan, with plans to look at local productions a while later, says Miller.

Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, Sony Entertainment Television India, whose company is handling the advertising sales of Animax India, maintains that local productions with a pan-Asian appeal will be given importance over anything else. "The idea is to not source content for India alone, but to look at the entire region."

For the record, Animax has four Asian feeds - one in Japan and the others in South East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The South Asian feed, which is the fifth and latest from the Animax stable, targets India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Interestingly, both Miller and Dasgupta are bullish about the prospects of the channel in India. They say, that the genre of animation has not been full tapped in the country.

An elaborate marketing and promotions exercise involving on-air, on-ground and online activities has been lined-up, with the first step being the appointment of cricketer Irfan Pathan as the brand ambassador of Animax India.

"Communication with regard to Animax will be routed through Irfan, which will help in building the right connect between viewers and the channel," says Rohit Gupta, executive vice-president, sales and revenue management, Sony Entertainment Television India.

Incidentally, the channel is yet to attract significant advertising, which Gupta maintains will fall in place once the distribution and viewership are steady enough.

According to Shantonu Aditya, president, SET-Discovery Pvt. Ltd, whose One Alliance platform is distributing the channel, plans are to touch a figure of 16-million homes in the next one month.

The channel will be priced at Rs 3, and the overall cost of the One Alliance bouquet will be up to Rs 64, he says. "MTV and Nickelodeon, which were recently introduced into the One Alliance, cost Rs 3 each, while the basic bouquet is priced at Rs 55. Add Animax to this and the overall cost goes up to Rs 64." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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