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Sony Pix’s aggressive growth plans for 2016

MUMBAI: Though the dust is yet to settle on year 2015, Sony Pictures Networks India’s English movie channel Sony Pix has outlined its strategy for 2016, which it calls version 2.0 of its ‘Stay Amazed’ brand positioning.

If version 1.0 of ‘Stay Amazed’ was about investing in great content, driving perception and doing innovation to break the clutter, version 2.0 will see the channel pushing the envelope with scale, style and talkability.

The channel will do 70-odd premieres during the year compared to 40 premieres in 2015. Some of the mega premieres lined up for 2016 include ‘Fast and Furious 7’, ‘Minions’, ‘Jurassic World’, ‘Everest’, ‘The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2’, and ‘The Walk’.

In version 2.0, it will also have content from NBC Universal apart from Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM and Lionsgate. It will have new franchises like ‘Fast and Furious’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Hunger Games’ in addition to ‘James Bond’, ‘Rocky’ and ‘Star Wars’.

In order to break the clutter, the channel will now have a female voice-over as the voice of the channel. It will have special indents to promote movie premieres in order to build recall. The rationale behind this innovation is that viewers do not remember the channel on which the movie premiered.

With the aim of building a stronger association between its brand and its properties, the channel is renaming its various properties. For example, ‘Awesome Saturdays’ will now be called ‘Awesome Pixsome’. The Sunday brunch property ‘Sunday Breakdown’ will now be called ‘Pix on Toast’.

Saurabh-Yagnik1SPN India EVP and business head of English cluster Saurabh Yagnik said that scale, style and talkability would form the core of the channel’s strategy for Pix 2.0.

“In v2.0, while our content has already taken a higher leap, we are also reshaping our communication to bring in the unique Pix differentiation. The litmus test of our communication will be when viewers will be able to identify a Pix property even if our logo is not present in the communication. The new voice-over is just one of these signature differentiators for us. In a sentence, Pix v2.0 can be summarized as ‘Best-in-class content, powered by an equally inimitable Pixification of communication and brand ambience’,” Yagnik stated.

With a viewership share of 17 per cent, the channel wants to operate in the top two. The channel is investing heavily in content to meet that objective. Yagnik claimed that the channel’s revenues had doubled in three years.

“We want to sustain the kind of growth we had, which is why we have upped our investments. The whole objective is to build perception and break the clutter. Earlier, we had large dependence on Sony as a content partner. Now we have many more studios,” he noted.

He also said that content costs increase 5–7 per cent on average with dollar appreciation and irrational bidding by competition pushing it up further.