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English movie channel genre grows despite slowdown
At a time when the media both print and electronic seems to be hit by the ongoing recession, the English movie channel genre seems to be unaffected. In fact there is growth happening, as the competition seems to be getting tougher. Adding to the bucket of active 6 channels- Star Movies, HBO, Zee Studio, Pix, World Movies, MGM and now Turner WB are in the race.

In the crowded television entertainment channel market, the English Movie channel genre seems to make its space contributing to the top 15 genres accounting for 98 per cent share of viewing on Television.

Turner International on March 15, 2009 rolled out a Hollywood entertainment channel in partnership with sister arm Warner Brothers Entertainment. There are talks about Pix doing more launches this year in the English movie genre space.

Growth in the English movie channel space:

Chirantan Chandran, General Manager, Mindshare, Delhi, “While there are six active players in the segment, and now with the new addition Turner WB taking the number up to seven, the English movie genre has gained share predominant on the back of Star Movies and HBO, with Zee Studio and PIX in a distant league. Though the genre share has remained consistent over the last one year, it is still pegged higher than the Hindi News, English entertainment, English news, religious and lifestyle genres in terms of relative share of pie, and thus contributes to the top 15 genres accounting for 98 per cent share of viewing on Television.”

Believing that the space has grown, Anita Nayyar, CEO, MPG, India, says, “English movie space has grown over the years from a two channel (HBO & Star Movies) to a few more today and also the offerings through DTH. There has been a slow and gradual growth in this genre and its offering to a niche set of audiences is undisputable. Having said that, like any movie channel I think and believe the success in this genre is completely title driven.”

On the contrary, Tarun Nigam, Executive Director, Starcom, Worldwide India –North, “I don’t think the English movie channel space will grow beyond 1-2 per cent. This space is clearly based on titles.”

The slow take off of DTH has impaired the growth of the channels in this genre:

Chandran, further added, “DTH in India is pegged at an annual growth of 20 per cent despite the economic slowdown. English movies viewing is a metro phenomena, where DTH growth is stupendous. What has led to slower growth for the genre on the contrary is steep content acquisition cost, and the language per se is a deterrent. With multiple TV homes in Urban India accounting for a mere 3 per cent, the opportunity to watch English content and therefore time spent/ individual viewing English content drops significantly.”

Nayyar says, “I don’t think DTH has impaired the growth of this genre as much. Their availability has not been impacted and access as pay channels through the box exists.”

While Nigam opines, “I only think that DTH is helping the growth in this space.”

Expectations from this genre in 2009

Chandran, believes, “The genre will be expected to maintain its share of viewing, which might be a tough ask, given '09 has some major cricketing events lined up, with IPL being the biggest threat to most genres, fighting for their share of eyeballs. Not to forget about the general elections.”

Nayyar said, “Like other genre the space is slowly moving towards a clutter. It will continue to deliver to the quality and niche segments, men and youth being important.”

“My expectations from this genre is that it should have good titles, better telecast quality and good production,” says, Nigam.

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