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Vivek Srivastava explains why Movies Now 2 was rebranded as MNX

MUMBAI: Movies Now 2 has been rebranded as MNX, signalling the next step in the evolution of Times Network’s movie channel business.

Seeking its own identity, MNX will speak to viewers who are a little more evolved than viewers of Movies Now, who consume masala content.

When Times Network decided to expand its portfolio of English channels last year, it launched a youth-targeted movie channel under the brand name of Movies Now 2. Armed with a rebellious personality and the tagline of ‘Hollywood’s Wild Child’, the channel sought to challenge the status quo. Now satisfied with the progress that the channel has made, the broadcaster rebranded the channel as MNX. The rebranding came into effect on 16 July with the airing of ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ at 1 pm. The movie had a repeat airing at 9 pm.

Times Network executive VP, head of the entertainment cluster Vivek Srivastava said that the name Movies Now 2 piggybacked on the legacy of Movies Now. “In the first few months of launch, this strategy worked brilliantly for Movies Now 2. However, now the channel needs to have its own identity. We have realised the uniqueness of speaking to millennials. We want to avoid a duplication of imagery between the channels. MNX will speak to viewers who are a little more evolved than viewers of Movies Now, who consume masala content. New is what will sell and our aim is to challenge the old.”

So, how are the two movie channels positioned differently? “Viewers of MNX are not arty, but they are intelligent enough to understand the nuance in a film like ‘Pacific Rim’. They understand genres like spoof and so ‘Deadpool’ airs here. The key for a channel to work is to understand content requirements and have a unique identity,” Srivastava explained.

The channel took little time to cross 2000 TVTs. In some weeks, it touches 3000 TVTs. “Because it is doing well, now is the right time for the rebranding. If you are one of the top players but you don’t have a distinct identity, then your values will decay,” he noted.

Srivastava also said that, apart from premieres being simulcast on Movies Now and MNX, the libraries are separate. To create a distinction, properties that use the letter X will be showcased. So ‘XTerminator’ will look at the 10 baddest guys in Hollywood. ‘Xplosive Nights’ will air during Diwali.

Sony Pictures Networks India does something similar with its English movie channel Pix, where properties like ‘Pixathon’ air. By creating brand recognition with properties connected with the channels’ name, MNX hopes to reduce channel blindness.

The key focus of MNX will rest on the 7-pm, 9-pm and 11-pm slots. In the 7-pm slot festivals air and a fair amount of experimentation has been done in this regard. An interactive initiative, ‘Get Lucky’, is being done on MNX.

“Today the challenge has become more relevant. Brands need to get noticed and stand out. The rebranding work was mostly done in-house. Our aim was to create a name that backs the channel’s identity. The tagline of ‘Hollywood’s Wild Child’ will continue,” Srivastava explained.