The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Invited, to TV plex in drawing room

Calcutta, Nov. 27: First, you could come home to the stars. Now, there’s a multiplex in your drawing room and everyone’s invited.

Catching the latest movie-going trend and aiming for the TRP top slot, television networks are converting their channels into plex screens.

So, the same film will be on beam at three different times on three different channels on the same day, just like a blockbuster showing at three different halls in an Inox or an 89 Cinemas.

And this three-in-one formula is being ushered in on the broad shoulders of Bachchan. Come Sunday and STAR TV will have a triple premiere of Mahesh Manjrekar’s Viruddh on its network. The Amitabh Bachchan-Sharmila Tagore-starrer will be telecast on STAR Gold at 1 pm, on STAR Plus at 4 pm and STAR One at 8 pm.

“The concept comes from the changing definition of a ‘hit film’,” a source in STAR TV tells The Telegraph.

“Earlier, you would need a silver jubilee to declare a movie ‘a hit’, but today the first weekend is enough. Mangal Pandey made more money in the first seven days than what Lagaan did in its entire run. And that’s because the movies grab the maximum number of screens at the time of release. By the same logic, going in for three telecasts on the same day, we are not only reaching out to more viewers but also to more advertising clients.”

The three channels, again, reach out to three very different sets of people.

While a STAR Gold caters mostly to “male viewers”, STAR Plus is the “family channel” with a large percentage of female viewers, and STAR One is the “SEC (socio-economic class) urban audience channel” with a whole lot of young viewers.

Where this “triple premiere” concept goes a step beyond the multiplex mantra is that you can watch a movie for an hour, take a break, and come back to watch the remaining portion on a different channel at a different time that suits you on a Sunday.

“Earlier, you would slot a big premiere and everyone would wire themselves up for that but today the consumer has become very mobile,” explains Ajay Vidyasagar, senior vice-president, marketing and communications, STAR India.

“So in terms of programming, this multiple viewing option helps the high-priced title to be seen by more people. And in terms of advertising, brand managers get to connect with more people. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”

Viruddh is just the starting point. Next up, big movie premieres on TV will not be spaced out for weeks and months, but be all bunched up on one bouquet, in one day.

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