"Hollywood Movies continue to operate at 40% higher viewership vis-à-vis pre-lockdown"

Leveraging the fact that people are still mostly confined to their homes and are hence consuming more content on TV, &flix and  Nielsen conducted a study and drew insights from 1,500+ movie lovers across metros and non-metro cities, including – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Indore. The report takes a deep dive into Hollywood’s appeal in India and highlights the consumer preferences, attitudes and behaviours. Giving an insight into the lifestyles and mindsets of the movie buffs in India, the findings reveal the viewpoint of viewers on Hollywood blockbusters and heroes.

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In a bid to further strengthen its focus on the regional markets, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd recently announced a pan-network property – ‘Ticket To Hollywood’ – which brings the latest Hollywood movies dubbed in regional languages across ZEE’s leading movie channels.

In conversation with Adgully, Kartik Mahadev, Business Head, Premium Channels, ZEEL, shares some insights from the study, tapping into Hollywood’s universal appeal, releasing big-ticket Hollywood movies in dubbed languages and more.

Speaking about Hollywood’s universal appeal, how true is this statement when it comes to regional India? How is Hollywood content leveraged here?

In the hyper-connected world we live in, Hollywood is closer to our homes and hearts now than ever before. Today, Hollywood movies aren’t just for the English-speaking audiences living in the metros, as we see movie enthusiasts in Bharat and India with the same level of passion and connectedness to the global fan following.

When it comes to the Box Office share, various industry reports spotlight how Hollywood has surpassed the share of Tamil and Telugu with a 204% growth in just six years. Back in 2013, Hollywood operated at almost half the level of Tamil and Telugu cinema, but by 2019 it touched an all-time high of Rs 1,595 crore, second to only Bollywood. A major driving force behind this growth has been big-ticket Hollywood movies released in dubbed languages. The same holds true for television as well with a whopping 177 million viewers today who watch English Movie & Entertainment channels, bigger than the population of England, Canada and Australia combined (BARC, All India, Week 01’20- Week 41’20).

Findings from the &flix study further validate this by revealing that 9 in 10 movie lovers, watch both English & Hindi/ Regional movies. The study also indicates how 7 in 10 Bollywood/ Regional Enthusiasts enjoy dubbed versions of Hollywood films, but find limited options of movies in their preferred language. With our pan network offering, ‘Ticket To Hollywood’, we now have the opportunity to deepen our engagement with a broader pool of Hollywood buffs across the nation.

What are key consumer trends that you see during the pandemic when it comes to movie content? Are regional markets being exposed to newer content and what’s their response to it?

Television came across as a trusted medium during the lockdown. We saw significant growth in TV viewership, led by more walk-ins as well as more time spent on television. Consumption of Hollywood movies on TV is on the rise and the genre continues to operate at 40% higher viewership compared to the pre-lockdown levels.

Recently, for the premiere of ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ on &flix and a simulcast in Hindi on Zee Cinema, we successfully reached a wider audience by providing access through language. Some of the most reputable brands came on board as partner for the property on &flix such as Kia Motors, Ariel, Amazon, Airtel 4G, Xiaomi, Protinex and ITC, among others. The premiere garnered an overwhelming response with a whopping 34 million reach, making it one of the biggest premieres in the last 12 months.

Furthermore, &flix’s multi-language block, ‘Flix For All’, delivered a 41% jump as viewers aspired for a premium movie experience in their native language, further fueling the need to curate a property that offers the best of Hollywood experiences in a language of the consumers’ choice. With ‘Ticket To Hollywood’, we are delighted to cater to the ever-evolving consumers as well as customers by offering the latest blockbusters via a multi-channel and multi-lingual brand. (BARC;TG : NCCS AB 15-40, Megacities, Pre Flix For All Period- WK 45 2019- WK 14 2020, during Flix For All Period- WK 15 2020 - WK 37 2020).

Regional is a key driver for every sector in the market. How is Hollywood content being driven here? And how is this content provided to suit the tastes of regional India?

The near future outlook for English entertainment movies looks positive as regional markets continue to fuel new user growth. There is a whole set of audience moving from regional to English content as they become more comfortable with English as a professional, conversational language. Our unique offerings such as ‘Flix For All’ on &flix and locally nuanced content on Zee Café, stand out as enablers of bringing an aspirational, English-comfortable audience onboard.

This festive season, with the premiere of 2020’s biggest superhero movie, ‘Bloodshot’, we have 12 ZEE movie channels telecast the premiere in 10 languages as part of ‘Ticket To Hollywood’. With this unique consumer proposition, the property will surely bring Hollywood closer to the homes of enthusiasts spread across the ‘many Bharats’.

What kind of genres of content are consumed in these markets?

There is an increasing preference towards genres like Action, Adventure and Superhero along with Animation and Horror across markets like Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Through our library of the latest Hollywood hits dubbed in multiple languages as part of ‘Ticket To Hollywood’, ZEE takes the experience to the next level by engaging with a larger community of enthusiasts who now have a chance to witness their favourite heroes from Hollywood in the language of their choice.

Give some key insights behind ‘Ticket To Hollywood’ and tell us about how this content mix is curated.

Since its launch two years ago, &flix has challenged the English movie genre codes in addressing the fan experience on television. ‘Ticket to Hollywood’ broadens access to Hollywood movies across the width and breadth of the country, bringing movies closer to fans while creating value for brands who want to engage with the passionate audience across regions.

The property will see Hollywood’s latest and top-rated movies across ZEE channels, dubbed in regional languages. Starting with the mega-movie event of the year, with the premiere of Hollywood’s only superhero blockbuster in 2020, ‘Bloodshot’, available in 12 channels, 10 languages, the line-up includes some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like ‘Spider Man Far From Home’, ‘Jumanji - The Next Level’, ‘Bad Boys For Life’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels’ (2019) in the pipeline.


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