Anindita Sarkar

STAR India to launch Jalsha Movies

On December 16, the network will launch Jalsha Movies, a Bengali movie channel that will screen movies ranging from latest blockbusters to classic super hits.

The Bengali television market is a vibrant one and as things stand it's the movie genre that is on fire. Not only has the number of Bengali film releases in 2012 risen to between 75-80, budgets are up too significantly.

STAR India to launch Jalsha Movies
In television, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) chose to enter the Bengali movie channel market in September with Zee Bangla Cinema to exploit the growing demand for movies. And now STAR India has decided to foray into the genre with Jalsha Movies.

Come December 16, the network will launch the channel to serve the market with movies that range from the latest blockbusters to classic super hits. According to sources, the channel has stitched an exclusive five-year deal with one of the biggest production houses of West Bengal to source the blockbusters.

The network has also roped in Bengali superstar Dev as the brand ambassador of Jalsha Movies. The channel is expected to commence operations with the world television premiere of the mega hit Bengali film, Awara.

The Bengali television market generates aggressive GRPs; consequently, it is considered to be a Priority One (P1) market for many advertisers. However, a major chunk of that share comes from the general entertainment channels (GECs): ZEEL (with Zee Bangla) and STAR India (with STAR Jalsha). The former generates an approximate 400 GRPs or more while the latter delivers anywhere above 450 GRPs.

STAR India to launch Jalsha Movies
"However, there is a huge gap between the second and third player (ETV Bangla) and if the content line-up is right, backed by a strong distribution, Jalsha Movies can effortlessly tap this gap," says Pratik Rathod, senior investment director, Maxus Global.

Rathod notes that STAR Jalsha has hosted very strong movie premieres (of Bengali blockbuster movies) during the year, which helped the channel to maximise its viewership. "And, if the network chooses to launch Jalsha Movies with the screening of those blockbusters, it will surely help the channel to create strong initial sampling," he adds.

Kunal Jamuar, executive director, West, MPG backs the statement and adds, "The success of a movie channel is always a function of its content library and the way in which it is exploited. Until the launch of Zee Bangla Cinema, the Bengali movie channel had only one player in Sony Picture Television's Sony Aath (Sony Eight), which did not have a significant impact. With improved reach and line-up, Jalsha Movies could fairly be a difficult player to beat."

For the record, the Bengali movie market has been drawing significant attention from top corporate players of the industry, wherein companies such as Reliance Big Entertainment, Mukta Arts and Rajshri Productions are eyeing the market with growing interest.