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Star Movies Select HD to target upscale audience

MUMBAI: Today many English movie channels focus on action and popular content. Such content not only makes them look similar, but also excludes viewers who want something better. These viewers are more discerning and sophisticated in their tastes.

Star India targets this class of viewers with its new channel Star Movies Select HD, which will be on Tata Sky, Dish TV and Videocon d2h. It will be available to Airtel Digital TV customers in a few weeks.

Star_Movies_Select_Hollywood's Hall of fameWith a library of around 1,000 movies and a tagline of ‘Hollywood’s Hall of Fame 365 Days, 365 Stories’, the new channel will have 10 per cent overlap with Star Movies in terms of content.

Star India business head – Engish cluster Kevin Vaz said that Star Movies has been a platform for the biggest action movies and blockbusters. “For many years, it has premiered many movies but more in the superhero and action space. Two years ago, we came out with the proposition of Star Movies Action. This was to cater to those who want 100 per cent action content. However, all the players in the genre play 80 per cent action.

Kevin Vaz

Kevin Vaz

“The same kind of film plays all the time. The feedback from consumers is that the same movies play continuously. All the channels look the same. Viewers want variety and stories. People want to see more than just action. They want drama, comedy, animation. The issue is how we can cater to this audience. This is how Star Movies Select came about.”

The difference between Star Movies and Star Movies Select is very clear. Star Movies will be dialogue independent as a lot of action plays there. It is more a visual treat. Star Movies Select will be dialogue intensive as the films that will play here are story led. Vaz also revealed that Star Movies Select will play only critically acclaimed films. “All the films have an IMDB rating of at least 6. There will be Oscar winners, nominees like ‘Boyhood’, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘The Theory of Everything’ and ‘Birdman’,” he added.

The reason the channel is having only an HD feed is that a premium audience is being targeted. According to Vaz, the new HD channel will drive the growth of HD. “The HD penetration will grow. The total HD universe grew by 35 per cent last year. Now there are 4.5 million homes. In the next couple of years, it could reach eight million homes. You will see a doubling of HD homes,” he said.

He said that the TG of Star Movies Select would be a level up as they will need to understand stories. “I see a lot of CEOs and CMOs watching it. At the same time, movies like ‘Gone Girl’ cut across.”

As had been reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, 9 pm is the key area of focus. A different movie will air in this slot every day, with no repeat telecast for a year. In a year, there will be over 30 premieres on the channel. Two to three movies like ‘Whiplash’, ‘Nightcrawler’, etc. will premiere a month. The channel will also have a monthly slot for movies that have not been released in India like ‘Calvary’ and ‘Baggage Claim’.

“We are making a promise that we will show a fresh movie at 9 pm every day. If I air films like ‘Gone Girl’ at 9 pm, it will not be repeated at this time for a whole year. We have output deals with Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal, who produce almost 60 per cent of Hollywood movies. Out of the 10 Oscar-winners last year, seven will be on Star Movies Select,” Vaz explained.

There will be thematic blocks on the channel such as book adaptations, biopics, true stories and iconic movies. “Viewers will see a festival of true stories. Festivals could be monthly or weekly depending on how many movies we have.”

Referring to phenomenon of a second channel, he said, “Broadcasters play all the movies from the first channel there. On Star Movies Select, you will not see more than 10 per cent of films from Star Movies. Ninety per cent of movies will be exclusive to Star Movies Select. The 10 per cent overlap has to be a really big movie like ‘Life of Pie’, which offers both a great story and a visual treat.”

The new channel will not affect the libraries of Star Movies and Star Movies Action. Their schedules are not affected. He also feels that viewership will not get cannibalised. “A lot of people have moved out of the category as the English movie channels only cater to one genre. People want to watch many different kinds of movies.”

The channel will have 12 minutes of ad airtime in an hour. “The premium segment is growing fast. If you look at auto, you see brands like Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes and Audi advertising in a big way. Handsets brands like Apple and Samsung S6 are also advertising. The premium white goods segment is also growing. This is also true for FMCGs. We have brands like BMW, Yamaha, Flipkart and Jockey coming aboard from Day 1. Whenever we have presented the channel to clients, all of them have really loved the product,” explained Vaz.

On the marketing front, the Star network will see a roadblock over the coming three to four days. Print will be used along with radio. Digital and social media will also play an important part in marketing the channel.

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