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Star’s big boost to FX: Day-and-date premieres of 4 shows, HD launch in Sep

MUMBAI: Aiming to break the clutter and target a discerning viewer of English-language content, Star India is giving a big boost to its ‘edgy’ English entertainment channel, FX.

The ramp-up plan includes the premiere of latest seasons of four acclaimed shows during the weekend with day-and-date release along with the US, and the launch of FX HD later this month.

kevin vazThe channel, which comes with the tagline ‘Edge of entertainment’, now wants to be edgier going forward, said Star India business head of English cluster, Jalsha cluster and Channel [V] Kevin Vaz.

Vaz said that while the channel introduced a lot of classics and got the viewers closer to the category through shows like ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The X-Files’, ‘Prison Break’ and more, in May this year, two big changes were made.

Firstly, the company changed the entire packaging of the channel to make it look edgier, by adapting the international FX channel packaging. Secondly, it came up with the idea of ‘First on FX’.

“The earlier notion about the channel was that FX plays shows that have already been aired on other channels. Starting May onwards, we came up with this bold statement that everything will be ‘First on FX’. That’s when we launched 50 new shows, along with the upcoming shows, which the audiences will see for the first time,” Vaz said.

Taking FX to the next level

Vaz believes that the new packaging, programming and edgier content have taken the channel a notch higher. Now the plans are to take it to the next level.

Empire_02“We have a great mix of comedy, political dramas, musicals, psychological thrillers, romantic dramas, and science fiction during the weekdays. To take it to the next level, starting October, we are coming up with the day-and-date release of the latest seasons of four of the most iconic shows, along with the US, during the weekends as a part of soon to be launched ‘FX Torrents’,” Vaz informed.

The slot, ‘FX Torrents’, will air shows including ‘Homeland’ season 5, ‘Dr. Who’ season 9, ‘Empire’ season 2 and ‘The Affair’ season 2.

Incidentally, following the success of back-to-back binge format that the company experimented with ‘Star World Binge’, FX also launched ‘FX Top Rated’ on 29 August, where viewers can watch shows back to back. These include shows like ‘Madmen’ (season 7), ‘Louie’ (S5), ‘Last Man on Earth’ (S1), ‘Homeland’ (S4), ‘Doctor Who’ (S8) and ‘Wayward Pines’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’, ‘American Horror Story’ and more.

“All the biggest and critically acclaimed shows with IMDB rating of over 7 curated and played as a strip for people to binge-watch during the weekends,” said Vaz. “So every weekend, there is a full doze of entertainment with ‘FX Torrents’ in the night and ‘FX Top Rated’ during the days.”

FX HD launch

FXHDStar India is also ready to launch the high-definition feed of the channel by the third week of September.

“Within the next three weeks, we will launch FX HD across all operators. That’s where we will take FX edge to the next level as a lot of these shows are visual delights because of the effects. So by the third week of September, we will launch FX HD,” Vaz said.

TelevisionPost.com had reported earlier that the company was planning to launch FX HD by July 2015. However, the plans got delayed by two months.

Content mix

Homeland_05With the promise of 50 new shows starting May 2015, the channel has output deals with Fox, Disney and Sony, and has hand-picked shows from CBS, BBC and NBC.

Star India is trying to push for more exclusive deals. “So once we acquire a show, we also get all the future seasons of the show,” explained Vaz.

Audience profile

While Star World is for family viewing, FX is for a group of audience that specifically wants cult and critically acclaimed shows.

Said Vaz, “We saw a big and growing audience that wants cult and critically acclaimed shows. This audience has more enhanced taste and is much more evolved from the regular core English viewer. They consume shows that are more evolved and layered, shows typically airing on American cable. FX is a dedicated channel catering to this audience.”