Exclusive | Action takes a new avatar; AXN re-packages

If genres like action, thriller and adventure are your picks for television viewing, AXN will bag a place in your ‘to-watch’ list. AXN, which is known for exclusive programming dedicated to action and adventure content recently changed its packaging with the launch of Sherlock Season 3.

Adgully caught up with Sunil Punjabi, Business Head, AXN India, to know about the channel's line up for 2014 and what made channel change its packaging and other strategies.

The channel which attempts to launch shows corresponding to its US launch strategically does not always focus on festive series but develops yearly plans to bring in the content and formats for Indian viewers close to its launches in US and UK.

Speaking about how the launch of shows close to launches in UK and US benefit the channel, Punjabi said, “From benefit perspective, there is massive positive word of mouth! When we started ‘Supernatural’ 20 days close to US launch in October 2012, we saw good attraction in the following years too. We launched Sherlock close to UK launch, as it was launched on 1st January there, 3rd January in India, while US launch will be on 17th January; this we believe brings audience from across countries closer. From a channel’s perspective, it has strong word of mouth appeal. Adding to it, we built bonds only on those shows which have large franchise and relevant from audience perspective”.

The channel started the year 2013 by experimenting formats close to US strategies, which worked well for the channel in terms of numbers. “We have been No. 1 for the last five years and we kind of continued it last year too! In 2013, we built series and brought back strong reality shows on the channel like ‘Top Gear’ and ‘The Hero’. Along with this, we also built fan-base for the shows on social media which did well in terms of numbers and ratings as well”, he said.
Following suit from the year gone-by, the channel will get franchise properties and plans to introduce it through mass media campaign. The channel has already had special screening for Sherlock Season 3 last year and on 3rd January held a special multi screening for fans.

Talking about the stimulants that lead to the decision of changing the channel’s packaging, Punjabi stated, “We launch the new packaging for the channel with Sherlock. Our focus was to further strengthen our strong male proposition and we realised that our color red and white is extremely strong. When we did a quick survey, we found that people relate to AXN with red and white colors, so changing the colors probably wouldn't have made any sense. The current packaging is much solid as it has shutter techlongy which is fast with space transition of elements which syncs with the brand. It’s alignment to content execution was done with Sherlock and we believe that it was ideal time to make the announcement”.

Sharing his thoughts about a male-TG driven channel and expanding its viewer-base, Punjabi said, “We were and have always been a male-focused channel. We have more male viewers which is difficult for a TV channel to get and that is our proposition! With shows like ‘The Hero’, ‘Top Gear’ which are all essentially male executed shows, our idea is to strengthen the viewer-base. However, a silver lining in the dark is that Sherlock is been liked by female audiences too”. The channel’s core proposition lies in bringing popular international shows in India. Adding to it, Punjabi said, “We are offering our core strength which is bringing international content which is accepted by Indian audiences, and we shall always try to do it, shifting focus from this will lead to loss of core audience for AXN”.

Apart from Sherlock series, speaking about what’s on the chart for the viewers of AXN in India for 2014, Punjabi said, “In 2014 we are looking to fill all the blocks, the reality blocks. For the first time we will have ‘Top Gear’ going on air close to UK Launch which will happen by the end of January; then we have ‘Axiata Voices of Asia’ in February, ‘Hannibal’ will come in first week of March, then ‘Orphan Black’ new season coming in month of April, May will have ‘Leave Another Day’ (new season of 24) and the new season of ‘The Hero’ comes back in month of July. Following this, ‘Teen Wolf’ and ‘Supernatural’ will come in. Hopefully again in January 2015 will have new season of Sherlock as well”.

Post the closure of season 2 of the thriller series, Sherlock Season 3 started off on Friday, 3rd January 2014 at 10 pm on AXN India.


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