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&Prive to showcase top notch film titles at prime time - nairrk - 01-24-2018

MUMBAI: Ooh la la! Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd's premium English movie channel &prive has even bigger plans to tickle the fancy of its exclusive audience. The channel has announced that its prime time programming slot from 9 pm to 12 pm every day will feature some very recent gee-whiz award nominated or winning titles. Among the titles which will be on offer includes: the critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg directed, Meryl Streep Tom Hank starrer The Post, the Aaron Sorkin directed Molly’s Game, the Luca Gauadagnino directed, James Ivory written Call Me By Your Name. Most of the films in this slot will be those which were released theatrically in the US in the last two months of the calendar year 2017. The overall catalogue of &Prive today consists of 450 library and 48 premieres. At launch, it was at 350 titles with 40 premieres.

The new content been curated from different studios and distributors such as Paramount, Reliance, Tanvir and PVR. “We picked up the content from small, small producers from Europe who own three to six movies. That meant dealing with close to 30 independent studios globally,” says Zeel business cluster head - premium & FTA GEC channels Aparna Bhosle. Some of these will be available on Zeel’s soon to be launched OTT play - Zee5.

It has plans to push the top daily pick movie through newspapers like the Times of India and Hindustan Times. “On the digital front, we will be using Google and YouTube banners or video promos,” reveals Bhosle.

& prive, which competes with Star Movies Select HD, MN+ and Sony le Plex for the estimated Rs 600 core English movie advertising pie, has been doing well since its launch in September 2017 with its non-conformist 22-50 age group viewers. It was number one in its fifth week with the film Lion and also in the month of December in six metros according to BARC ratings claims Bhosle. The channel has gained a lot of traction in Mumbai and Delhi.

“The way we design and package the channel - it is the constant effort and is the endeavour that the ad rates should increase,” Bhosle points out. “The ad rates are absolutely comparable to channels that are considered leaders in the space.”

Bhosle is hoping to expand the channel’s distribution with deals being signed with distribution platform operators that have not been showcasing &prive as yet. “Talks are still in progress with Videocon D2H, as they had some bandwidth issue at the time of launch. We are planning to have a deal with Hathway in some time” she adds.

The channel - by virtue of its positioning - is aimed at high net worth homes and individuals who can afford a high definition viewing package. Their tribe has swelled to around 14 million in India today. And Bhosle believes that it is this audience which will ensure that the English movie genre will continue to do well. “The OTT platforms will never affect the business of English movies channels. Yes, they could offer some competition – but finally content is king,” she says.

Adds an analyst: “A part of the audience that consumes &prive content has access to massive internet bandwidth as well as smart TVs in their homes. They could not care how they consume – through OTT or through linear TV. If & prive can lure them to watch the linear TV service of the channel, then it could be on a good wicket. Additionally, all these movies are freely available on pirate streaming and torrent sites. How it manages to curtail the pirates will also help build its audience.”

That’s a challenge the entire media and entertainment sector faces.

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