Getting melodious

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The music channel genre promises to see an influx of new entrants this year. Multi Screen Media (MSM), which currently offers three channels – Sony Entertainment Television, SAB and PIX – is planning to launch a 24-hour Hindi music channel by mid-December. The new channel could be named MIX and is scheduled to be launched in the coming months.

Post the nod from Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in February 2011, the Hindi music channel promoted by venture capital firm New Silk Route has plans for expansion and is gearing up to launch music channels in regional languages by mid-2011. FIPB has granted approval to 9X Media to make an amendment in foreign collaboration, private equity to an additional investment of Rs 55 crore as share capital in the company 9XM.

Meanwhile, through a buyout from Cinestar Advertising, Reliance Broadcasting Network Ltd (RBNL) will be refreshing existing player, Imagine Showbiz. BIG CBS Spark, a youth channel from the BIG CBS venture, is also due for launch this year.

The perks
Typically, music channels have low entry and set-up costs and are sustainable on low-cost operations when compared to a general entertainment channel. These channels command healthy advertising interest and the chance to connect with the youth segment. As per industry experts, the music TV advertising industry is pegged at about Rs 200-300 crore a year.

In terms of programming cost, music rights for airing of Bollywood releases require an investment of up to Rs 2-3 crore.

Commenting on networks enhancing their offering with a music channel, Anamika Mehta, Chief Operating Officer, Lodestar UM, says, “With music channels, the entry cost may not be that high as was the case with Mastiii, compared to a brand such as MTV or Channel V. For a network such as MSM, with helpful associations with Sony and Walt Disney, a debut in music will help them expand their offerings and help them be present across genres.”

MTV has recently reverted to adding dedicated music slots to its content mix. In the past year, many channels saw a revamp and repositioning too. When asked if music channels should stick to a pure content mix, Mehta adds, “For a 24-hour channel, audiences need snacking of other content. Format shows have done well for music channels and a judicial content mix is beneficial.”

From the advertisers’ table, sharing his views on the matter, Sameer Sathpathy, Marketing Head, Marico, says, “Brands need to keep reinventing to maintain relevance. Media brands need to keep things dynamic and exciting in search of ‘the next big thing’. But if the channels operate within the same market and it is only a portfolio game to have a music channel in the offering, it is not beneficial.”

Sudip Ghose, Director, Marketing, South Asia, Samsonite, says, “Music in a mass Hindi genre space has potential, as it delivers value to an advertiser. Regional channels come under the niche buying category, which helps them tap frequency, but are low on reach. If the viewership base enlarges, it works well for everybody.”

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