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A ‘Raw’ battle for the youth TG

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A ‘Raw’ battle for the youth TG

It’s a jungle out there, especially if you are competing for the elusive youth target group. MTV, a name that has been traditionally associated with the youth, has seen its share of ups and downs this year. The channel faced a tough battle from Bindass on the ratings count in the youth TG. But at the same time, MTV also focussed on creating more avenues to reaching the youth, and even managed it with success in social networking platforms. Last week, MTV announced the channel’s new philosophy of ‘Stay Raw’.

With the idea in place, MTV geared up for extensive execution over all platforms. Treating ‘Stay Raw’ as a philosophy rather than marketing or an ad campaign, the channel took not only the traditional media route but disseminated over 100 pieces of creative, designed by Bates 141, across all media, coupled with MTV’s Facebook and Twitter presence, website following and mobile presence. The channel supported the new philosophy with an aesthetic makeover.

Aditya Swamy, Channel Head, Sales and Marketing, MTV, explained that the idea behind ‘Stay Raw’ was about Reinvention. He said, “Our mantra is to connect with young people, their ideologies, popular culture, things that speak to them and are relevant to them. Today, the youth has strong music sensations, they are fiercely Indian, brash; they are Raw. We are not asking them to change themselves; we are not saying Live Raw or Be Raw. MTV has never been preachy. We are saying, ‘You are who you are, don’t hold yourself back, Stay Raw.”

Taking Reality to New Heights
MTV began with the monosyllabic tagline ‘Enjoy!’, which was later tweaked to Music Television. In October 2009, we saw MTV as ‘Beyond Music, Beyond Television’. ‘Stay Raw’ means another change for the channel. While reinvention and experimentation are key to break clutter in the music-youth-reality genre, would constant change dissolve MTV’s brand image? Swamy replied, “People say reality is done to death, but there is a difference. Reality is done to death in the current format. MTV’s recent show ‘MF 101’ is an example of what we call ‘Freality’ or Fantasy Reality. We are also keen on exploring a new form of reality shows called DocuReality, which involves following the lives of people.”

The new look attempts to give the channel a “new international channel environment”. “Our logo is fresh and bigger; we have gone back to the basic black and white theme with a splash of colour. The look is global. It is about taking MTV to the next level,” Aditya said.

Even though MTV has maintained its position as a genre leader, the numbers make it difficult to deny that Bindaas and 9XM are too close for comfort. As per TAM Media Research data, MTV ratings had dropped sharply Week 21 onwards when it touched a 1.2 rating and hit another low in Week 40 at about 0.6 TRP, when it rubbed shoulders with 9XM. Bindaas enjoyed genre leadership from Week 29 to Week 38, when Sri Adhikari Brother’s comedy-music channel Mastiii, which has been rising in popularity since Week 27, came at par with Bindaas.

For MTV, the new change is not as much an attempt “to regain lost glory” as it was an extension of their brand building exercise. The channel currently derives about 50 per cent of its revenue from air time sales. The other half is from various properties such as MTV Live TV, the digital platform, Live Events, the events division, the Facebook and Twitter pages and the MTV website.

Ratings Rule
Ratings are important. Jai Lala, Principle Partner, Mindshare India, reasserted that and said, “We put the money where the ratings are. MTV has been moving towards a music and youth genre for a while now in terms of a strategic shift on the per cent allocated to music shows and other content. Stay Raw is a good move and if the execution if carried out well, and they connect with the youth, it will pay off. But it is difficult to gauge at the moment how this will work for them.”

Harsha Joshi, COO, Media Buying and Content, Madison Communications, is more optimistic. She explained, “MTV has carved a niche for itself a youth channel. Even though there are other channels in this space like Bindass and Channel [v], MTV’s programming is in place and they have a number of shows in their kitty like ‘Roadies’ and ‘Splitsvilla’. Due to the clutter in this genre, more channels are experimenting with programming to connect with their audience. It is difficult to catch the youth so anything new offers an attraction.”

The youth turf is not a simple one and channels like Bindass have been successful with properties like ‘Emotional Atyachaar’. Ratings would be an important point to measure the success of MTV’s ‘Stay Raw’.

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