Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) has expanded its English entertainment portfolio by announcing the launch of another English movie channel, &flix, merely within a year of launching &Prive HD.
Entering the Rs 500-550 crore English movie genre, the new channel that will be available in the HD and SD variants will go on air on June 3, with the premiere of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming at 1pm. There will be 52 premieres (one movie premiere every Sunday) on the channel, a proposition with which &Prive HD was launched in September last year. However, &Prive HD premieres are on Saturdays.
The network already operates &Prive HD, a premium English movie channel, Zee Studio, an English movie channel, Zee Café, an English entertainment channel and now, &flix. However, sources close to the network said Zee Studio will eventually go off-air and that the network has stopped putting any efforts and investments behind the channel.
With the tagline of Leap Forth, the channel aims at giving its audience an aspirational story of a hero, with whom the audience might want to get evolved. The channel has a positioning, ‘Great Movies Don’t Just Tell You What Is. But What Could Be.’ For the promos and promotional material, the channel’s in-house team has worked closely with the network’s creative agency, Publicis India.
From the content point of view, the network has a total of 750 movie titles for the two channels that it operates, along with the upcoming channel &flix. Over 400 movie titles are exclusively for &flix. The network has also signed a first output deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment, in addition to the existing second output deal with Paramount and third output deal with Disney Studios. In addition, the channel has also sealed deals with about 7-8 independent studios. Out of the 52 premieres that the channel has promised, 48 come from the Sony deal, while approximately another 35 come for &Prive HD.
The various programming blocks include the Sunday premieres under the property Flix First Premiere, Best Flix Forever, Late Night Flix and FamJam Flix among others. The movie line-up includes Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Life, The Emoji Movie, The Atomic Blonde, Jumanji and Blade Runner 2049 to name a few.
The channel has a sharp focus on the six metros, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. However, the rest of the country is also being targeted in the marketing plans and distribution. The channel is claiming to launch with 95% coverage on the distribution networks. The channel will also be available on the analogue networks in the Tamil Nadu market, till the migration happens to digital.
Out of the total 51 million households that contributed to the English movie viewership, 60% comes from the six megacities, which is growing by 35% y-o-y. “As English becomes more and more aspirational, a huge chunk of growth is going to come from the smaller towns, but as of now, 60% of our audience is in the megacities,” said Aparna Bhosle, Business Cluster Head, Premium Channels, ZEEL.
On the advertising front, the channel is launching with five channel partners – Lloyd, Amazon Fire Stick, Fiama, Pernod Ricard and Domino’s Pizzas. The channel has also got sponsors on board for some of its programming blocks.
Punit Misra, CEO, ZEEL, said, “After a successful launch of &Privé HD, we are delighted to serve to our viewers our latest English movie offering, &flix. The ‘&’ family was created to offer distinctive storytelling experiences for the progressive Indian audience. The creation and curation of &flix are based on our core value of putting the consumer first in everything we do, and our audiences will love what &flix has to offer to them. The English movie viewership has grown by 35% in the mega cities, a clear indication that the consumer appetite for this content is growing significantly. With &flix, we present to the ever-growing group of the English movie enthusiasts, larger than life movie viewing experiences in the comfort of their homes. We invite them to leap forth and enjoy with &flix.”
Bhosle said, “Through &flix, we wish to present a visual extravaganza whilst being infectiously inspiring and the champions of the unexplored. From action and drama to comedy and animation, we have a compelling mix of genres for the Indian viewers presenting a movie spectacle like never seen before on Indian television.”
The channel had launched an outdoor campaign, integrated with digital, wherein a digital hoarding was in covers and it revealed a little part as and when people tweeted with ‘#LeapForth’. After every 300 tweets, some part of the hoarding would get lit up and the creative would change. This is one of the firsts wherein outdoor and digital media platforms are integrated live. In addition to this, the 5-6 week long launch campaign will be spread across print, television, distribution networks, multiplexes, digital and outdoor.
Prathyusha Agarwal, CMO, ZEEL, added, “For our ever-evolving audiences who is spoilt for choice, &flix will fuel the drive to take a quantum leap and break out of his orbit. Through our & brand, our aim has always been to disrupt the entertainment space with new-age content and fulfil the needs of &dians who are driven by the explorer mindset. Our research led us to understand that over 60% of all English movie viewers fall under the category of un-satiated strivers. With &flix, we aim to enthral the audience who is persistent in their pursuit for new experiences and is not easily satiated. The brand proposition, Leap Forth, was created with the thought that you can have an extraordinary life with unlimited possibilities if you dare to take the leap. Our marketing campaign has been chalked out keeping in light the awe-inspiring larger than life experience we wish to offer. Our innovations, across mediums, reflect the magnitude of our offering, surely making it one of the biggest launches in our sector this year.”
Mona Jain, Executive Vice-President, Sales, ZEEL, shared, “Our latest offering &flix is a massive platform that brings hit Hollywood movies for our audiences. The strong brand proposition has helped us connect with some of the key like-minded brands across sectors garnering five channel partners even before the channel goes live. Currently we have ITC, Havells, Pernod Ricard, Amazon and Domino’s Pizza as our channel partners. The response has been extremely positive from our clients and such partnerships further validate our belief in our offering. We are hoping to drive synergies with more brands as we embark on this new journey.”