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Update: 2012 premier and exclusive movies on television
A spree of movie acquisitions, big-ticket premieres, a tough fight at the top and two channel launches marked the first half of 2012 in the Hindi movie channel space.

Star TV took the fight to the other networks with the launch of a second Hindi movie channel under its OK brand. Armed with a vast movie library, Movies OK has had a strong start, becoming the fourth player in the space with over 60 GRPs. The leader channel, whether it is Star Gold or Zee Cinema or Max, enjoys around 120 GRPs.

Even as new channels launched, the top three players battled it out to acquire the best of content. Multi Screen Media, Max’s parent company, made the first move by acquiring the rights of blockbuster Vidya Balan-starrer The Dirty Picture, and yet-to-be-released Aamir Khan-starrer Talaash and Salman Khan-starrer Ek Tha Tiger. It also acquired the rights for Yash Raj Films’ Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl.

Star acquired rights for Dabangg 2, Housefull 2, Ghayal 2 and Kaal Returns, adding to its extensive library of 1300 movies.

Zee, which was lagging behind in the acquisition game, made an aggressive pitch and acquired rights of movies like Don 2, Agneepath, Agent Vinod, Barfee, Heroine, Desi Boyz, Players, Joker, Michael and My Friend Pinto.

Star Gold and Movies OK General Manager Hemal Jhaveri believes that the key to acquiring new titles is to make the content resonate with the target group. “When we acquire movies, they have to fit with the brand ethos of the channel and resonate with the viewers. At the end of the day, running a Hindi movie channel is a difficult business because the costs involved are huge,” avers Jhaveri.

However, much to Max’s disappointment, the premiere of The Dirty Picture was blocked by the Censor Board at the last minute as it objected to certain scenes in the film, which it deemed unfit for general viewing.

Another key trend that started in 2011 and continued this year was the fact that major networks like Star, Zee and MSM started premiering movies on their movie channels as opposed to general entertainment channels.

“There has been movement from GECs to movie channels in terms of movie premieres. Mainstream movie channels have reduced their focus on Hollywood-dubbed content. Earlier there were lots of slots dedicated to Hollywood but now they have moved to South Indian dubbed movies,” says UTV channels marketing head Kunal Mukherjee.

All in all, an eventful first half for movie channels. And the fight can only get tougher in the second half of the year.


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