Prachi Srivastava

"We will not shy away from airing dubbed movies on Max 2": Neeraj Vyas

Vyas talks about the Hindi movie channel's performance in one year. The channel hopes to break even by end of 2015.

Sony Max 2, one of the Hindi movie channels from Multi Screen Media, has completed a year and is aiming to break even by end of 2015.

The channel, which launched in June 2014, airs evergreen movies from 1970s to 1990s. It has classics like 'Aaradhna', 'Amar Prem', 'Chupke Chupke' and 'Golmaal' in its library. Max 2 shares a movie library of 1000+ movies with sister channel Sony Max; however, head of the channels, Neeraj Vyas (senior EVP and business head, Sony Mix, Sony Max and Max 2), claims that there is hardly any overlap in the movies aired on the two channels.

"We will not shy away from airing dubbed movies on Max 2": Neeraj Vyas
"It is so because the two cater to different mindsets. Max 2 is for a slightly older audience, say 25+, though we would want more people to watch it. We are getting the audience we are targetting bang on and also getting family viewing, considering India is largely a single TV household," he adds.
"We will not shy away from airing dubbed movies on Max 2": Neeraj Vyas
According to Vyas, in the Hindi movie genre, the channels that play older movies collectively garnered only 30-40 GRPs when Max 2 was launched. The number has risen to 100 GRPs today and Max 2 contributes 40-45 GRPs, he says.

As per BARC data (GVMs, All 4+ Individuals, HSM, Wk. 21-28 2015), Max 2 leads among the second rung movie channels with 65 GVMs on the back of higher time spent per viewer. It is followed by Zee Classic, Zee Action and B4U Movies.

"The viewership numbers are just the icing on the cake. The real happiness comes from the fact that we have managed to rekindle a genre that was for long dead and buried, simply because it never got the kind of respect it should have got. We have brought to life a concept of magical, evergreen movies and that's why we say 'Kuch filmon ka jaadu kabhi kam nahi hota, jab dekho tab naya',", Vyas comments.

Max 2 has received a positive response across markets like Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Kolkata and Delhi. Interestingly, it has not done very well in UP. Citing the reason for the same, Vyas says, "It is a huge market and to resonate with UP will take time. Interiors are not coming in yet, but Lucknow and Kanpur are." Films such as 'Satte Pe Satta', 'Aradhana' and 'Chupke Chupke' have done extremely well in their repeats.

Unlike other movie channels, he informs, Max 2 has lesser male skew - its male-female ratio is 55:45, while other channels' is 70:30. Besides the movies, he attributes the success of the channel to the way it has been presented to viewers - as a tribute to evergreen movies and not just "pick a movie and air it."

Max2 has formulated a lot of peripheral programming as well. Short format properties like 'Take 2' and 'Sitaare' feature trivia and actors' journeys, and seem to enjoy good viewership.

Classics from regional cinema will also find a place on Max 2. Vyas says, "There is a lot of great cinema out there. Going ahead, it's something we will not shy away from. If the dubbing and quality of the movie is good, then classics in all languages should deserve a slot somewhere. It will definitely not get mass viewership that a 'Kabhi Kabhi' or 'Silsila' will, but it is something that needs to be done and promoted in the right way."

Sony Max 2, since its launch, has upped its ad rates by 25 per cent. As for the marketing, since the channel has a 'tight budget', it implements BTL activities, essentially in the HSM markets, under the 'Film, Family and Fun' theme. Launched last year, it reaches out to a large audience by engaging with and entertaining masses in a filmy manner in LC1 towns of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The initiative aims to bring families together to celebrate the magic of the great Indian cinema, whilst giving them an opportunity to showcase their filmy side. This initiative covered 56 towns across three states and reached 18, 50,000 people last year.

"We have achieved the threshold level of delivery as far as the audiences are concerned; now it's about how much we can ramp up our advertising rates," Vyas says.

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