ZEE & Sony to hold back movie premieres for premium channels?

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Over the past couple of years, one couldn’t miss a huge film premiere being aired on the likes of ZEE Network owned &TV and Sony Pictures Networks’ Sony SAB TV. While contracts were in place with Sky for premium content to air exclusively first on premium channels like ZEE TV, ZEE Cinema, Sony Entertainment Television and Sony MAX, broadcasters were also keen to ramp up BARB figures on their free channels to generate revenue from mainstream commercials.

However, it now seems the channels have done a U-turn by holding back their blockbuster movie titles for their premium channels. With ZEE TV, ZEE Cinema, Sony TV, Sony MAX and B4U Movies entering the Sky Original Pack from August, big properties such as movies and golden ticket events will now only be aired on the bigger channels for each network.

One will notice that &TV UK has not aired a huge movie premiere for a couple of months, despite holding the rights for blockbusters like ‘Dangal’, ‘Dear Zindagi’ and ‘Raees’. The films though have already had their first run on ZEE Cinema. Similarly, Sony Pictures Networks has not premiered any major movie premiere due to the Indian Premier League but has films like ‘Baahubali 2’ and ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’ in its possession to lure viewers. They are also now expected to air on Sony MAX rather than Sony SAB TV.

An industry executive, who spoke to BizAsiaLive.com on condition of anonymity said, “The value of Bollywood blockbusters diminish when they’re shown free-to-air, so to increase the lifeline of some of these titles, it doesn’t surprise me that ZEE & Sony will air these movies exclusively on their premium services.”

ZEE Network is also scaling back on movies on &TV as it wants the channel to focus mainly on fictions and reality TV shows. The broadcaster is planning to launch &Pictures, which will complement ZEE Cinema. Like this, Sony SAB TV is expected to refrain from premiering major films as they will now air on Sony MAX and its upcoming channel, Sony MAX 2.

Whether the move proves popular or detrimental remains to be seen. Movies have played a huge part in ratings for both &TV and Sony SAB TV, so to completely remove film premieres from these channels will be something worth watching closely.

An industry executive told BizAsiaLive.com , “Each of the broadcasters are working on giving clear identities to their channels and the general entertainment channels will focus just on daily fictions and non-fiction programming, while the movie premieres will be left for the movie channels. Its a good move but in the long run, the entertainment channels without movie premieres may suffer.”

Keep it with BizAsiaLive.com for more.

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