AXN plans 2 more channels

HD channel will go on air from April 6

AXN plans 2 more channels

AXN India, part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, on Thursday announced its plans to launch high definition (HD) version AXN HD channel on April 6  even as it gears up to start two more channels in the English segment in India.

Interacting with Deccan Herald, Channel PIX and AXN executive vice president and business head Saurabh Yagnik said the company is witnessing  an overwhelming response throughout the country and the market is really in a fluid state.

“We are the highest watched English entertainment channel last year and clocked a viewership of 2.8 crore. We are expecting a growth of 10 per cent to 15 per cent growth in viewership this year. We are looking at opening two more channels to cater to the growing demand for English channels. The segment is registering an overall growth of 50 per cent,” he claimed.

Yagnik said the country is witnessing a rising demand for Hollywood content. “We have two distinct set of viewers and they include opinion leaders and adopters. While the first segment is very high on awareness and scout for more fresh content, the adopters include 90 per cent of the viewers who are new to the programmes. We are striving to change the second category with quality content into opinion leaders,” he said.

AXN India plans to bring out more content with its tie-ups with international studios such as CBS, Sony Pictures, BBC, WB, MGM,FOX, Fremantle Media, etc. Besides investing in popular long-running series and latest shows from the US, AXN India is betting high on programmes focusing on Bollywood celebrities.

“We have our signature shows like Guinness, Ripley’s, American Ninja Warrior and Wipeout for weekdays and Sherlock S4, Supernatural S11, Orphan Black S3, Hannibal S3, Elementary S4, etc. for the weekends,” he said. Talking about revenues, he said most of it comes from the tier-1 cities. “But Indian cities are changing dramatically that five years down the line lots of churning will happen in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Then we will have to focus on those areas also. This year we are hiking our investment 40 per cent to cater to the growing demand,” he said.

AXN HD will stream award-winning shows 24 and Dexter starting from April 6 and the Top Chef Masters Season 5 will start on April 9. AXN India is part of SPE-owned Multi Screen Media, which has around 16 channels under its kitty. As per a recent FICCI-KPMG report, the Indian media and entertainment sector is set to grow at a CAGR of 13.9 per cent by 2019 to touch Rs 1,96,400 crore from Rs 1,02,600 crore in 2014.

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