Sep 11, 2008

Entertainment - AXN venturing into lifestyle segment

Sony Pictures Entertainment Network-promoted AXN channel in India is planning to attract a new set of advertisers by moving beyond action and adventure into the lifestyle space and including women as a new target audience.With its ad revenues growing at a conservative rate between 10 and 15 per cent year on year, the channel has decided to have an unisex appeal with a lifestyle segment to address ‘well heeled’ men and women with shows on cars, bikes, personal grooming and fashion. The newly appointed Business Head of AXN, Mr Rohit Bhandari, said “All these years AXN has been growing its ad revenues at a conservative rate. But with the lifestyle shows, we expect a larger gamut of advertisers. There could also be in show placements for certain brands as we intend increasing our local content in our programming.” With new lifestyle programming based on a ‘show and tell’ format, AXN is expecting a set of fresh advertisers from the automobile, two-wheeler and FMCG industry to renew their interest in the channel.“There is so much fragmentation already and with advertisers having restricted spends, it is challenge to get advertising revenues. We intend having shows on a larger scale and going beyond reality-based shows into the lifestyle segment,” added Mr Bhandari. India-specific content Unleashing new India-specific content through shows such as E-Buzz India and AXN Bollywood action awards, today the channel has between 5 and 10 per cent of its programming dedicated to the country. “We intend taking our India specific content to a maximum of 15 per cent and are already working with mid-sized Indian production houses,” said Mr Bhandari. The action-oriented channel has decided to push its India-based programming primarily during the festive and holiday season.Meanwhile, the other niche channel of Sony Pictures Entertainment Network, Asia — Animax — also caters to a specific audience with animation forming the base of its programming. Targeting teenagers and young adults, the channel is clubbed in the kid’s genre and is yet to make its mark with the Indian audiences. “We have realised that content for the Animax channel has been ahead of its times as it is a different medium. However, we have taken our learnings from the performance of this channel,” said Mr Bhandari. Besides, there are also chances of introducing yet another channel — AXN Beyond — in the Indian market in the near future. AXN Beyond comprises science fiction and supernatural content. “We are looking at more opportunities for other niche channel and AXN Beyond might get launched next year. Its launch would also depend on the distribution scenario and how CAS unfolds in this market,” added Mr Bhandari.

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