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UTV has blockbuster plans for movie channels

UTV movies to compete with Zee cinema, max, filmy, star gold as it goes on air from march 7, reports Saurabh Turakhia.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2008 21:06 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

While Zee Cinema and Sony’s MAX are caught in a neck-and-neck competition in the movie channel space, UTV, a recent entrant, has an aggressive strategy in place. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Ronnie Screwvala, UTV group CEO, said, “Among our three channels--Bindaas Movies, World Movies and UTV Movies--and our film production, we will be spending Rs 1,000 crore in the next year. The outlay will be used for acquiring 750-800 movie titles in addition to marketing activities for the fledgling channels.”

UTV Movies, the Hindi movie channel from UTV, is being test-run as of now and will be competing with the likes of Zee Cinema, MAX, Filmy, Star Gold and B4U Movies as it goes on air from March 7. Throwing more light on the strategy for its Hindi movie channel, UTV Movies, Dilshad Master, COO, UTVETL said, “UTV Movies will be a channel targeting the masses. We will be laying a lot of emphasis on audience feedback- which will be considered for acquiring our titles.”

The channel begins with 250 titles and shall acquire more titles regularly. Screwvala said that the rights for a top-notch movie can come for as high as Rs 14-18 crore.

The overall television advertising pie is of the size of Rs 6,000 crore, of which the movie channels have a share of roughly about Rs 600 crore.

Chandradeep Mitra, president of Optimum Media Solutions, said that though UTV may begin with a disadvantage as a late entrant, it has shown itself to be an aggressive player that operates with a differentiated content strategy. “It was quite successful with the children’s genre. In the youth segment as well, it has been reasonably successful.” However, Mitra cautioned that ultimately what matters for the success of a movie channel is the line-up of movies.

Screwvala makes his intention clear of dominating the movie channel space with its three movie channels. He is betting big on the fact that UTV is also involved in movie productions both of both Hindi and English films.