Cora Yim
Cora Yim

The similarity to FOX Movies Premium (FMP) is uncanny. Take a linear channel, blend blockbusters with live concerts, documentaries, and original productions; toss in a non-linear companion (player); add a HD channel; craft a new name (the preferred abbreviation SCM) and recreate an on-air look, and you have a delectable TV “dish” fit for an “emperor” – welcome to the new-and-improved SCM ala FMP.

Yim explains that the channel was due for an upgrade and breakthrough, and FMP provided the inspiration. FMP “sets the new standard on what a movie channel should be,” says Yim, “and it doesn’t matter if it’s in English or in Chinese.”

In the inaugural launch, SCM audiences can expect blockbusters like the 2011 sleeper hit, You’re the Apple of My Eye, as well as concert performances such as Richie Ren’s Love Beloved; with promises of Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng and Miriam Yeung in upcoming months. Burma – A Human Tragedy, which documents Aung San Suu Kyi’s life under the Burmese military regime, will spearhead the documentary genre for the new SCM.

The new programming slate suggests an effort to reach a younger demographic. Yim explains that the former STAR Chinese Movies was male-skewed, hence the effort to not just skew younger but capture more female “eyeballs”.

“Predominantly, we’re targeting 25 – 45 year-olds (for movies),” explains Yim. “For varieties and ‘live’ concerts though, we hope to extract a younger group.”

SCM is also adopting a new scheduling strategy. First-run originals are no longer confined to the 9pm timebelt, but premieres now occur at 930pm with the recognition that primetime viewing happens at a later hour. In addition, additional first-runs will premiere back-to-back, meaning brand new content beginning at the 11pm – 1130pm slot – all good news for the nocturnal viewer.

Quality content is hard to come by. Just as FMP boasts of the ability to secure premium movie content by way of output deals with top US film studios (FOX, Disney, MGM etc.), Yim’s programming team, which will continue to buy and schedule out of Hong Kong for the three SCM feeds (Hong Kong; Malaysia; and Singapore/ Philippines), will harness the best of Asian content via exclusive deals with regional content producers and distributors.

Yim shares that Media Asia and Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) are the two major film producer/ distributors that SCM acquires from, but the need for region-specific programming is foremost on her mind. While acquisition budgets will still be largely spent on Hong Kong content which Yim suggests has universal appeal across the region, a chunk of change will now go into local buys as well as to finance SCM’s foray into co-productions.

“The market is getting really different. Previously, we (just) sign an output deal for regional rights. Now we see that every market has its own special taste,” explains Yim.

At the SCM press launch held in Singapore on 30 June, SCM announced their latest collaboration with Clover Films to co-produce The Wedding Diary II 《结婚那件事之后》, the highly anticipated sequel to the box office hit The Wedding Diary 《结婚那件事》, by Malaysian director Adrian Teh.