‘&pictures will compete with Zee Cinema’

16 Aug,2013


The promos are on air and the hoardings with the bold &pictures logo dot the city. Zee Entertainment’s sixth Hindi movie channel is set to unveil on Sunday, August 18. It’s been billed as India’s first interactive movie channel and the objective is to cater to the young, digitally inclined and active Indian. The plan is to launch an entire parallel bouquet under the ‘&’ banner, and the movie channel is the first in the big roll-out that’s set to happen.


MxMIndia caught up with ZEEL Chief Content and Creative Officer Bharat Kumar Ranga, Marketing Head – National Channels Akash Chawla and Cluster Programming Head – Hindi movie channels Ruchir Tiwari in an exclusive interaction to get a feel of what’s in store .


Why &pictures when you already have a Zee Cinema which is doing very well? Barfi! got good ratings. And then you have four other channels – Zee Cinema HD, Zee Premiere, Zee Classic and Zee Action. So why &pictures?

We think by 2015 there may be 25 movie channels in India and we have to make sure that we have sizeable share out of that. We are also attempting to capture a new way of thinking that people have. We have had different kind of movies… Khosla ka Ghosla, Kai Po Che, A Wednesday.


Mind you, the youth is still devoted to Indian beliefs, integrity and values. But they want to branch out and take chances. They want to grow outside their existing structure and movies have captured this very well and we thought a movie channel is the best way to capture the new mindset that is emerging right now.


You already have five movie channels from the Zee stable. Zee Cinema is doing very well, so why &pictures?

Yes, the obvious objective is to be at the top. It will be a very different brand compared to Zee cinema. Its brand values are completely different. It will be highly interactive. It will have an exclusive library, with movies that are very different.


But in the past we’ve seen – albeit in the GEC space – where second channel is never given the same attention and resources as the flagship channel

Well, have you ever heard someone else saying that a new channel will compete with flagship channel. Here we are saying this. The two teams will in a sense compete. We are very clear about one thing: &pictures will compete with Zee Cinema.


But, as per the numbers available, Zee Cinema is the No 1, Max is the No 1, Gold No 3 and Movies OK a distant No 3. The difference in TVTs between Zee Cinema and Max is over 20,000. Where do you think will &pictures be?

Who is Number 2 here?



How about replacing it?


Yes, but Max is at 215075. That’s a tall order!

So how about something like 250000 or something like that? We will be aiming high, and aiming to get past Zee Cinema. That’s the ambition.


But you also have three other cinema channels (other than Zee Cinema and Zee Cinema HD) which have not been promoted enough – specifically, Zee Classic, Zee Action and Zee Premiere. So why go in for a new channel when you have three in the stable?

See Zee Action and Zee Classic were digital products and Zee Classic came out of that and went into the analogue market too. Zee Classic is a unique offering and doesn’t compete with any other channel. We have a huge library that it can take advantage of. The others being digital products are for different audiences.


Your communiqué mentions the fact that you are targeting viewers who spend a fair bit of time on mobiles, social media etc. But these are people who also download films off the internet, are into Torrent and don’t care too much about piracy.

Firstly, let us clarify. &pictures is not a youth a channel.  The communication is such that it is relevant to people who are young at. The second point is interesting and we are looking at the entire offering in a different way. Some people watch cinema on the computer, others on TV. Some people may want to interact with us on Twitter because. Today, our viewers are doing multiple activities and engaging in multiple manner so the whole philosophy behind &pictures from the particular perspective is that how are we meaningful to our consumers by every device of their choice, wherever that they are and in a more relevant manner. Hence it;s India’s first interactive Hindi movie channel. We will be relevant to them across platforms.


Interactivity is a good word, but are you going to really be that?

If you go on to andpictures.in, we are actually doing India’s first crowdsourced film. And there’s a lot more coming. In 45 days from now, you will see a digital product under the umbrella of &pictures which will help bridge the divide between internet and television in terms of talking to your stars. Wait for it!


Are you doing interactive stuff with DTH platforms like Dish, since it’s part of the Zee group? Like pressing the red/green button for…

Yes, yes, yes! DTH is a key part of our gameplans and we are already doing quite a bit with all DTH platforms including Dish which includes that red button you are talking about. There is a separate team in Zee which is just exploring all these possibilities and putting thigs in execution.


Other than films, will there be any other programming on &pictures?

No long formatted shows. We will have more of back-to-back movies basically.


You are launching on August 18th. Any big bang premieres coming up?

At first we are not doing any premieres. We will be airing films that &pictures stands. But soon after the second or thir week onwards the premieres will start happening.


So what’s next after &pictures under the & umbrella?

Well, we will first be working to get the & positioning right and getting the connect right. Once people start liking and loving it, we will come up with new products.


Will it be beyond television? And Indian languages?

We will appeato to people across the country and Indians across he world. This could be in multiple genre and languages.


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