With 70 to 80 hoardings in Mumbai and about 40 to 50 billboards in Delhi, UTV Entertainment Television Ltd has kicked off the marketing blitzkrieg for its Hindi film channel starting February 25. And, yes, the company which is a subsidiary of UTV Global Broadcasting, has earmarked an enormous Rs 30 crore to promote one Bollywood channel.
"We are going all out to promote UTV Movies and you will see a lot of activity around the channel," says Shantonu Aditya, CEO, UTV Entertainment Television. The marketing budget does not include the distribution cost (read carriage fee) of the channel, he clarifies.
The channel, which has lined up films such as Aap ka Suroor (Himesh Reshammiya), Life in a Metro and Goal (John Abraham), has been launched with a 360-degree promotion plan including advertising in print, on television and the outdoor. "Unprecedented mass contact programme is underway," says Aditya.
But why does UTV Movies needs such high marketing spends? "We want to be among the top three Hindi films channels by the end of the year," explains Aditya.
Currently, Zee Cinema leads the pack in the Hindi film genre.
It is not difficult to see why UTV Entertainment has launched a Bollywood channel. For a start, it has ready content from its motion picture company which made 18 films last year.
"We are strictly following the international studios' business model where they make films to exploit them on their own film channels. Of course, we've also acquired 250 titles from other libraries," he says.
To be sure, the cost of running a film channel has gone up since the TV rights of Hindi films are 30 per cent higher than they were last year.
Besides advertisers don't seem to be paying a premium for re-runs. "That may be true for films on a general entertainment channel as there you are fighting the 30-minute battle with your rivals. On a 24-hour film channel, if you position the channel properly and market the film well, advertisers will come," says Aditya.
World Movies has already got 10 advertisers on board including Pepsi, Hindustan Unilever, Airtel and IBM.
Unlike World Movies where UTV focused on five metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai), for UTV Movies, the company is eyeing audiences in the entire Hindi speaking belt.
The company claims it is happy with the performance of its world cinema channel that has outperformed older players such as Zee Studio and Sony Pix within two weeks of its launch.
Aditya says that niche channels will do well since TV audiences are getting fragmented.