India’s largest television broadcaster by market share, Star India, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, will soon launch its new movie channel, Movies OK, its second in the Hindi movies space, a person familiar with the development said.
“The channel will be a part of the ‘OK’ family without the Star branding,” confirmed a top official from Star TV network. He cannot be named as plans for the channel are still underway. Movies OK will compete in a space which has close to 12 channels including SET Max, Star Gold, Zee Cinema, UTV Movies, UTV Action and Zee Premier.
Star TV currently runs Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) Life OK under its OK brand name. Life OK, which replaced Star's youth-oriented GEC Star One, was launched in December 2011, and is headed by Ajit Thakur, who is the general manager.
“Movies OK will have a separate team and a channel head,” added the Star official. A mail sent to Star’s chief executive officer Uday Shankar and chief operating officer Sanjay Gupta did not elicit any response.
Star TV launched its first Hindi movie channel Star Gold in 2000, which became the most-watched channel in the genre in June 2011, recording 134 GRPs (gross rating points), ahead of competitors Zee Cinema and SET Max.
The Hindi movie genre occupies 11.9% of the overall TV viewership pie and is the third most watched segment, trailing behind regional channels (33.4%) and Hindi GECs (27.4%), a FICCI-KPMG report on the Indian media and entertainment industry, released in March, said.
Hindi movies have become essential for brand building in the broadcasting space, say media analysts. “A key trend emerging in 2011 was the premiere of big movies on the movie channels of the broadcasters rather than the flagship GECs,” wrote Jehil Thakkar, head — media & entertainment at audit and consulting firm KPMG India, in the report.