SINGAPORE — While Sony Pictures Entertainment exceeds B.O. expectations this year, its upstart pay TV channel AXN is celebrating its fifth birthday with successes of its own.
According to AXN Asia managing director Todd Miller, the action and adventure channel has hit all the targets it set for itself.
“When AXN Asia was launched, it was a sexy but unproven concept,” he says. “Five years on we’re a brand that’s in 70 million Asian households. This year has seen all-time peaks in viewership, distribution reach and ad sales,” with movie studios the most significant single sector for advertising growth. “Most majors now rely on AXN for pan-Asian ad campaigns for key releases,” Miller adds.
“It helps considerably to be backed by Hollywood’s No. 1 studio. SPE has broken many industry benchmarks with its 2002 film slate, and many of these successful films will find a broadcast home on AXN at some point,” Miller says.
“AXN Asia will do its part to support SPE’s larger goals of creating and sustaining franchises like ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Men in Black.’ ”
Miller also is keen to point out its content coups so far this year, and that beating the competition to these top shows has significantly added to the brand equity.
“Qualitatively, we’ve taken AXN in Asia to new heights. For example, in the past year we’ve premiered the No. 1 Asian movie of all time, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ and the current No. 1 U.S. drama, ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.’ We’ve also led the charge in popularizing reality television in Asia.”
And Miller believes these preems have done wonders to prove AXN Asia’s worth far beyond its original airhead fare.
“These programming firsts have helped to create a shift in the way AXN is perceived and watched. We’re now seen as a trendsetter and innovator by our viewers and business partners.”
As for the current financial climate, Miller claims the channel is more than holding its own against rivals almost twice its age. And thanks to competition from rival ratings agencies ACNielsen and Taylor Nelson Sofres, there is better panregional syndicated research to vindicate Miller’s claims.
“Today, AXN is no longer viewed as an inexperienced upstart,” he says. “Within five years AXN has gained carriage on all major cable systems across Asia, with practically 100% Southeast Asia distribution.
“More importantly, in all the measured markets of Asia, AXN firmly rates among the top five among all international ad-supported channels.”