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AXN gears to launch HD feed on April 6; refreshes content line-up

“We aim to create customised conversations on the shows and increase channel share by building appointment-led viewership,” says Saurabh Yagnik, EVP & Business Head, Sony PIX & AXN

Shanta Saikia | Delhi | March 25, 2015

Saurabh-Yagnik Saurabh Yagnik

AXN India is refreshing its programming strategy from April 2015 onwards. The AXN HD channel is slated to go on air from April 6, 2015. The new programming line-up will offer a mix of signature shows, reality shows, and crime dramas on week days, whereas weekends will witness the latest seasons of shows with fresh content airing closer to the US dates.

Commenting on the refreshed programming strategy, Saurabh Yagnik, Executive Vice-President and Business Head, Sony PIX and AXN, said that with the onset of digitisation, the core viewers were spending more time on special interest channels. According to him, in the English entertainment category, the share of viewership today has gone up by more than 50 per cent. Moreover, the category has seen a shift to more appointment-based viewing than accidental walk-ins.

“The rise in demand for Hollywood content and changing consumption patterns has divided the viewers into two distinct clusters: Opinion Leaders and The Adopters,” Yagnik pointed out. Elaborating further on these two clusters, he said that Opinion Leaders were very high on awareness quotient and sought out new content. For them, AXN would be bringing the day-date shows from the US, thus creating more opportunity for conversations.

On the other hand, The Adopters were low on awareness quotient and sought advice from opinion leaders/ social media on what to watch. For them, AXN would bring in the most popular long-running series and give viewers an opportunity to watch iconic shows from the beginning.

“The core proposition of the entire exercise is to create customised conversations on the shows and increase channel share by building appointment-led viewership. Also, enhance perception of AXN as the destination of the best Hollywood content,” Yagnik explained.

In keeping with this proposition, the channel will be investing more in the best of Hollywood content, popular long-running series and the latest shows from the US. AXN will also strategically use Bollywood celebrities to build familiarity for new shows, besides building characters and show association with the channel.

The channel’s new programming strategy will find amplification through an aggressive TV plan, print plan and heavy promotion across network social media, with an approximate fan base of over 14 million. “Social media is critical for AXN and our Facebook engagement trails are the highest,” claimed Yagnik.

Commenting on the AXN HD launch, he said, “AXN is also seeking to enhance its appeal to viewers with the launch of its HD feed. With this, we hope to make Week-Nights Thrill-Nights for our viewers exclusively on AXN and AXN HD.” The pricing of AXN HD is intended to be at around Rs 30.

Weekdays will see signature shows like ‘Guinness’, ‘Ripley’s’, ‘American Ninja Warrior’, and ‘Wipeout’ aired at 8.00 pm. This will be followed by reality television at 9 pm with shows like ‘Fear Factor’, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, ‘Top Chef’, ‘America’s Next Top Model’, ‘Survivor’, ‘The Amazing Race’, and so on. The 10 pm slot will see a host of famous crime shows such as ‘24’, ‘Elementary’, ‘NCIS’, ‘CSI’, and more. The 11 pm slot will have some edgy shows like ‘Dexter’, ‘Ray Donovan’, ‘Sex and the City’, and ‘Californication’.

Weekends will witness the latest seasons of shows with fresh content airing closer to the US dates. ‘Sherlock S4’, ‘Supernatural S11’, ‘Orphan Black S3’, ‘Hannibal S3’, ‘Elementary S4’, ‘Voice’ S9 and S10, ‘Madam Secretary S2’, ‘Extant S2’, ‘CSI: Cyber’ and ‘Scorpion S3’ are some of the upcoming shows.

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