ZEEL goes bullish on its English movie channel &flixHD; inks a first telecast deal with Sony

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Published: October 18, 2019 6:04:14 PM

Called, ‘World Television Premieres’ under the sub-brand, the English channel will premiere movies during prime-time in the weekend and in the afternoon.

Netflix, &flix, Zee Entertainment, ZEEL, Kartik Mahadev, Sony, Navin Khemka, MediaCom, Amit Shah, MIB: International, Brightburn, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Angry Birds 2, Zombieland 2, Charlie’s Angels (2019) and Jumanji: The Next Level, video streaming platform, OTT, Diney, PVR, TAM AdEx The channel claims to have premiered over 40 movies in the first year of its launch till June 2019. (Image credit: company website)

At a time when English as a genre is facing tough competition from video streaming platforms, Zee Entertainment and Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), seem to be investing in its movie channel &flixHD. The broadcaster has launched a new programming line-up under, ‘World Television Premieres’, wherein it will premier films. It has inked a first-output deal with film studios such as Sony. This provides access to films such as MIB: International, Brightburn, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Angry Birds 2, Zombieland 2, Charlie’s Angels (2019) and Jumanji: The Next Level. “Usually the waiting period for any Hollywood film is anywhere between 9-12 months, with this we have been able to reduce that to three to six months. Within a year of its launch &flixHD became the number 2 HD channel in the category and ended the FY 2019 in that ranking. One of the reasons behind the channel fairing well is that it has a good amount of action and adventure films,” Kartik Mahadev, business head, English Cluster, ZEEL, said.

In addition to Sony, &flix has existing content deals with other studios such as Disney, PVR, and Lionsgate, among others. The channel claims to have premiered over 40 movies in the first year of its launch till June 2019. It plans to premiere about 25-30 more films in the second year of its operations. English movies account for three percent of the total advertising pie on TV, as per TAM AdEx data in the Ficci-EY report. While the total advertising share on TV is expected to reach Rs 28,000 crores (exclusive of GST) by end of CY2019, English movies’ (including SD and HD channel) contribution would amount to Rs 840 crore. According to industry estimates, the share of HD channels within the genre is about 30%-40%, that is, Rs 252 crore – Rs 336 crore.

Moreover, the broadcaster claims that post the rollout of new tariff order (NTO), it has posted a 40% increase in insertion in ads, as per data released Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). “Post the NTO regime, our subscription numbers month on month have seen growth as more people are embracing the new MRP regime and are opening to the new content offerings from our channels,” Amit Shah, cluster head, West, North and premium channels, ZEEL, said.

According to industry estimates, a 10-second ad currently cost anywhere in the range of Rs 3,000 – Rs 10,000 on HD movies channel depending on the time band. Usually, a ten-second ad spot during weekend and prime-time that is between 8 pm to 10 pm, costs the most, between Rs 5,000 – Rs 10,000. “Viewers of HD channels are serious and premium audiences. These channels were never sold on the basis of viewership numbers. Post NTO, the data on who’s watching what channel is clearer, which could lead to the growth of these channels,” Navin Khemka, CEO, MediaCom South Asia, said.

Moreover, in an effort to promote the new content offering, the broadcaster has launched a new campaign #FlixFirstBeforeAmerica, which will be released across platforms such as direct-to-home (DTH), digital, TV and across trade media.

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