afaqs! news bureau

To lure viewers, &flix offers 'First Day, First Show' movie premieres, even before the US

It's an attempt to catch more eyeballs, as English movie channels battle OTT boom, NTO, and advertising slump due to COVID.

Go back five or seven years, English movies and TV channels were the main sources of (English) entertainment, along with theatres, for consumers. With time and more channels entering the space, the 'same time as the US' promise became their standout aspect. You could now catch the latest episode of your favourite TV show, or movie premiere, at the same time as the US viewers. You no longer had to wait for a week, or two, as was the case earlier.

But, the English movie and TV channels are facing a tough time today. Sandwiched between booming OTT platforms and the NTO order implemented in February 2019, these channels have had a bleak 2020. And, COVID has only made things worse for these channels because it has discouraged advertisers, and led to huge revenue losses.

Recently, AXN and AXN HD, India's leading English entertainment channels for over two decades, pulled down its shutters. Yet another grim reminder.

Now, to catch more eyeballs, &flix, an English movie channel under Zee Entertainment, promises a 'First Day First Show' movie watching experience, even before the US.

Kartik Mahadev, business head, premium cluster, ZEEL, said, "The long wait for Hollywood movies, from their theatrical release to premiere on television, stood out as a consumer challenge in the English movies genre that we wanted to address." He added that with limited out-of-home entertainment avenues, people are craving for a big adventure movie experience.

&flix, along with digital agency The Glitch, has released a short homemade film, featuring online influencer José Covaco, to further its campaign. In the film, we see Covaco waking up to instances (like a new set of clothes, a big bowl of popcorn, etc.) that set him up for a movie-like experience at home.

The trope of 'First Day, First Show' is a powerful pull for moviegoers. And, with cinema halls shut, for the time being, let’s see if the &flix campaign works, and garners much-needed eyeballs for the channel.

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