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Rishtey Cineplex: What does it hold for the genre?

With a positive attitude about the launch, industry discusses whether the new channel will mean more money and more viewership for the Hindi movie genre

Raushni Bhagia | Mumbai | February 29, 2016


With the announcement of Viacom18 launching a Hindi movie channel Rishtey Cineplex, the broadcast network aims at filling the pivotal white gap in its portfolio. While on the other hand, the already busy Hindi movie genre will get a ‘branded’ entrant which is ought to destabilise the existing players a bit.

Most common emotion about the launch is positive in the media fraternity as most of the experts believe that new launch will only benefit the genre get more monies and possibly, more eyeballs. Considering the recent inventory crunch faced by the whole industry (courtesy ad cap), media planners opine that the genre which is generally used for frequency building might attract more advertiser monies, with increased ad slots to be sold. However, movie titles are the biggest game changers in the genre and to Viacom18’s benefit, they never stopped buying satellite rights for big banners, despite having shelved their movie channel plan a couple of times earlier.

The group had been long-awaiting to launch a Hindi movie channel to complete its bouquet; however, it had to sell out its movie library of about 700 movies to Star Network in 2012 for a whopping Rs 400-500 crore. It was around the time when the network bought out operational stake in the regional ETV network.

This time around, as the plan to launch the movie channel is finalised and announced, the industry has welcomed the move. One of the direct competitors of the upcoming channel said on the condition of anonymity, “Competition is always welcome, especially in this genre where there is a huge scope for more players and I think it will attract more advertiser attention to the genre. However, the broadcaster must note that acquisitions are easier, while scheduling movie titles can be very tricky.”

Shekhar Banerjee Shekhar Banerjee

Media Planners, however, have mixed feelings about new monies coming in the genre. Shekhar Banerjee, COO, Madison Media, opined that this will only invite a lot of reshuffling of advertisers’ money. “The genre has seen a radical growth as per the BARC ratings over the TAM data. The channel, especially from a stable network like Viacom 18, should only start with high viewership numbers. Indian households are definitely consuming the genre a lot and it can easily accommodate a new channel.”

Amol Mohandas Amol Mohandas

While another flock of planners believe that the increase in inventories should invite increased budgets for the clients on this genre. Amol Mohandas of GroupM opines that it will bring more monies to the genre as the existing inventory on the genre is fully packed. “In addition to this, there is a strong (media) network behind the launch, which will mean a more serious treatment by the advertisers.”

Neeraj Vyas Neeraj Vyas

Agreeing that the inventories are packed in the genre, Neeraj Vyas, Senior EVP and Business Head, Set Max and Set Max 2 and Set Max HD, feels that there is scope in the genre. “There would be more liquidity on whatever is offered in the genre, yes. But whether that will mean more advertiser attention, I can’t be sure. But yes, there is huge potential as the genre is stable, even when the phase 3 digitisation has created a lot of chaos for many other genres,” added Vyas.

Speaking about the content and the dependence on strong titles, the media experts have agreed that the broadcast network has good line-up of movies, considering that they never stopped acquiring the good ones. “For Viacom 18, it is more like monetising an existing investment since they have a library. Yes, they will have to acquire more, but that will be only for feeding the channel 24x7. Purchasing second-third and later airings will be more viable option for the network, I feel,” said Banerjee.

nikhil-rangnekar Nikhil Rangnekar

Nikhil Rangnekar, CEO, Spatial Access, strongly feels that the movie channels are a direct function of movie titles. “If, on the back of their library, the channel is able to expand the viewership pie of the genre as a whole, then advertisers will not shy away from bringing extra monies to the genre.”

Well, it still remains to be seen as to what does the future hold for the channel and the genre. It must be noted that the genre is spoiling the consumers with a lot of options recently with the recent launches like Set Max 2 (July 2015), Housefull Movies (September 2015) and WOW Cinema (Jun 2015).

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