ZEEL targets unsatiated viewers with third English movie channel &flix

MUMBAI: Media conglomerate ZEEL is expanding its presence in the English entertainment space with the launch of its third English movie channel and second under the ‘&’ brand.

&flix, which is being positioned as a mass English movie channel, will debut on 3 June with the premiere of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ at 1 pm.

The channel will be available in standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) formats across all leading direct to home (DTH) and digital cable platforms

The new channel will draw heavily from the first output deal the company did with Sony Pictures last year.

With the brand proposition of ‘Leap Forth’, &flix will focus on a distinct set of viewers it calls the unsatiated striver who seek enthrallment and covet challenges.

The research conducted by the broadcaster found that these viewers felt that there was an orbit of sameness in the English movie genre. Therefore, the broadcaster identified a clear need gap in the market which resulted in the incubation of &flix.

The channel aims to showcase great movies and give viewers an experience that shows not just what is but what can be. The aim is to also add new viewers to the category and not just take existing viewers of the other English movie channels.

&flix will have 52 hit premieres a year which will air every Sunday at 1 pm, 9 pm with 48 of these premieres coming from Sony library.

The channel has a library strength of over 400 movies all of which are exclusive to the channel. The movies come from Sony (first output), Paramount (second output), Disney (third output) and seven independent studios.

These movies will not be aired on &Privé HD or Zee Studio. &Privé HD will have 35 premieres from Sony. The decision about which channel to place the movie will rest on the extent to which it is mainstream. In total, ZEEL’s English movie library strength is around 700.

The TG for the channel is 15-40 age group in SEC A, B across six metros. About 60% of movie viewing comes from the six metros. However, &flix will not ignore the remaining 40%. The English movie genre has seen a CAGR viewership growth of 35%.

&flix will bring one hit premiere every week #BAE – Before Anyone Else under the property Flix First Premiere. It will showcase its movies under properties like ‘Best Flix Forever’ which is dedicated to movies that one does not mind watching again and again, Late Night Flix where movies with edgy content air and FamJam Flix on Sunday mornings which is targeted at the family through things like animation movies.

Besides ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ other premieres include ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Life’, ‘The Emoji Movie’, ‘Atomic Blonde’, ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’. By bringing some of the most-awaited Hollywood movies to the Indian screens before anyone else, the channel’s endeavour is to inspire, engage and excite the viewers so that they venture out of their comfort zone.

ZEEL business cluster head premium channels Aparna Bhosle said that work on the channel had been going on for a year.

“At ZEEL, our endeavour has always been to entice our audiences with a fantastic programming line-up. Through &flix, we wish to present a visual extravaganza whilst being infectiously inspiring and the champions of the unexplored. Our library of movies includes 52 premieres along with 400 plus celebrated titles which will take the audiences on a journey to a world of unlimited possibilities. From action and drama to comedy and animation, we have a compelling mix of genres for the Indian viewers presenting a movie spectacle like never seen before on Indian television.”

She noted that when doing an output deal one is allowed to see what movies will come over three years and going forward Sony has films like a new movie in the ‘Men In Black’ franchise and ‘Venom’ to be released in the future. She noted that the movies at 9 pm draw maximum viewership for the genre. The 1 pm and 9 pm slots on Sunday is also very important.

As per the research, the Sunday 11 pm slot also has potential. The channel will also focus on the 7 pm slot. “We did a lot of research while constructing our FPC. We studied what movies are watched at what time,” Bhosle noted.

She added that for the afternoons there is one stop and non-stop in terms of ads. So movies will air in the afternoon with just one ad break or none. She also said that having channel partners at launch was crucial because they believe in what the channel will do.

Commenting on the launch of &flix, ZEEL CEO Punit Misra said, “After the very successful launch of &Privé HD, we are delighted to serve to our viewers our latest English movie offering, &flix. The ‘&’ family was created to offer distinctive storytelling experiences for the progressive Indian audience. The creation and curation of &flix is based on our core value of putting the consumer first in everything we do, and our audiences will love what &flix has to offer to them. The English movie viewership has grown by 35% in the Megacities, a clear indication that the consumer appetite for this content is growing significantly. With &flix we present to the ever-growing group of the English movie enthusiasts, larger than life movie viewing experiences in the comfort of their homes. We invite them to leap forth and enjoy with &flix.”

Keeping in line with the channel’s proposition of presenting unparalleled experiences, &flix has planned a disruptive 360-degree marketing plan engaging audiences through numerous touchpoints. The channel leveraged a never seen before in the category, Twitter Integrated Outdoor innovation to unveil the channel’s first communication where viewers tweeted using channel hashtag to reach 10000 tweets, garnering more than 52 Mn impressions in just 24 hours. In its marketing, the channel will also use hoardings and multiplexes.

ZEEL chief marketing officer Prathyusha Agarwal added, “Our marketing campaign has been chalked out keeping in light the awe-inspiring larger than life experience we wish to offer. Our innovations, across mediums, reflect the magnitude of our offering, surely making it one of the biggest launches in our sector this year.”

On the ad front, the channel has roped in five channel partners – ITC, Havells, Pernod Ricard, Amazon and Domino’s Pizza.

ZEEL EVP sales Mona Jain said, “Our latest offering &flix is a massive platform which brings hit Hollywood movies for our audiences. The strong brand proposition has helped us connect with some of the key like-minded brands across sectors garnering 5 channel partners even before the channel goes live. Currently, we have ITC, Havells, Pernod Ricard, Amazon and Domino’s Pizza as our channel partners. The response has been extremely positive from our clients and such partnerships further validate our belief in our offering. We are hoping to drive synergies with more brands as we embark on this new journey.”

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