It's getting high on High definition (HD). We are referring to the Star network's Hindi movie channel Star Gold which has strategically, started premiering movies first on Star Gold HD, then following up with a first airing on its standard definition (SD) service.
It's all in the line of giving its viewers a value add. Explains Star Gold executive VP Hemal Jhaveri: “We are categorically looking at premiering certain content that we have acquired only on Star Gold HD. It’s a very clear vision we have for keeping the FPCs for both the HD and SD feeds very different from one another. If a viewer is going to pay premium prices he deserves something extra, so we figured why not premiere movies, may be a week or even a month in advance, than our SD feeds. We are clearly focused on strengthening our HD portfolio and it does attract and appeal to premium audiences. ”
Amongst the first films to get this treatment was the Saif Ali Khan starrer Bullett Raja which had its HD premiere on 21 February followed by the SD premier a day later. Youth centric flick Yaariyan which is to have its SD first run on 21 March at 8 pm premiered on Star Gold HD on 16 March.
And Jhaveri is quite buoyed by the viewer feedback that Yaariyan has generated. Says he: “We have always focused on offering a mix of varied movie genres to our audiences, with entertaining content. Being a youth centric film, Yaariyan has connected very well with the younger generation and with the music being very popular among the audience we are positive of receiving a good response for the premiere.”
Star India has close to 33 channels in its network. And Jhaveri says it leaves no stone unturned in terms of promoting the big ticket film premieres airing on Star Gold and Star Gold HD on all its channels. He adds: “We also carry out a 360 degree marketing drive for the movies as well. We treat each movie on its merit, some require heavier push with on-air promotions and some would require a separate campaign. So each movie is treated on its content merit.”
Jhaveri believes the HD premiere tack will work well on the advertising front. Says he: “We are really sure that more and more brands will want to reach out to premiere customers through our HD feed. It’s been great in terms of qualitative feedback and we are confident of building more traction for our HD portfolio.”
Meanwhile, he points out that the network is going easy on handing out fat cheques to buy films this year as the market is overheated. “We have already made enough acquisitions last year but as far as this year is concerned we are going to be really selective and to a certain extent not really acquire any movie," discloses Jhaveri. "For the first time you will see a lot of unsold movies in the market, so we are just being very stringent in the content we acquire for this year and will do so only if the need arises. ”
Star Gold has a movie library of 1,100 titles which it shares with its sister channel Movies OK. In 2012, the network had acquired over 500 films from the Viacom 18 group followed by the deal with superstars Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn in early 2013 for all their films till 2017. Additionally, the network signed a deal for other exciting movies for its 2014 movies line up. Some of the high profile premieres slated for the year include: Jai Ho, Kick, Bombay Velvet, Bang Bang, Roy, Action Jackson, Singham 2, Hamshakals, Bobby Jasoos and Creature.
To its credit is the information tidbit that the network has successfully premiered the maximum number of Rs 100 crore Bollywood films, including blockbusters such as Singham, Bodyguard, Ra.One, Housefull 2, Bol Bachchan, Son of Sardaar, Dabangg 2 and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
The telecast of Yaariyan should help nudge its viewership - which saw a slippage last week -up. Star Gold SD received 164,983 GVTs in week 10 of TAM ratings against 176,596 GVTs in week 9 (-11,613) even as sister channel Movies OK generated 130,606 GVTs in week 10 against 116,767 GVTs (-13,839).