To keep the young, itching to press the remote button viewer in its fold, Channel [V] has decided to give him more music and fewer ads. From 7 to 11 in the morning, it has reduced the length of its commercial breaks to 6o seconds. The channel is promoting the same with a perky 'Captain Fast Break' spot.
Rationales Keertan Adyanthya, "Mornings are prime time as far as music channels are concerned. At that time a lot of youngsters are at home, and what is more important, remote is in their hand."
He adds, " We realized that in the mornings, the youngsters just want to listen to music. They don't want too much ad clutter and the chitchat of VJs." Hence, the channel decided to restructure its existing programming and in came Captain Fast Break, a super hero! There were three programmes in that slot - Back to Back, Jump-Start and Hit Machine. 'Don't go away, good music is just 60 seconds away', is the pomo-line.
This interesting strategy, in fact, was introduced this June end, and according to Adyanthya TRPs have increased since. The channel opted to keep the frequency of the breaks same and cut down on in-house commercials, and hence, it has not led to any loss in ad revenues.
When asked if this 0ne-minute break concept came in because of the increasing threat music channels face from FM radio, Adyanthya says, "FM is not a competitor for music channels, it is a complimentary service. More music they hear more music they want to watch. On TV, it is not only about sound, it is about images as well, and the effect is different."
Star Group, by and large, seems to be strengthening its strategies to keep the viewers hooked to a channel for longer duration. An example of it can be seen on Star Plus, where Kahin Kissi Roz follows Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi without a commercial break. The same strategy was applied in the eight to nine slot on the channel as well, and here, it seems to have really worked. Though, for Kahin Kissi Roz rating jump is not all that substantial.
Coming back to one minute commercial breaks on Channel [V], media planners believe that low clutter level would attract more advertisers and also make the viewers stay on. However, most of them aren't aware of the concept - Captain Fast Track. Says Harish Shriyan, Vice President, Mediacom India, Grey Worldwide, "If the clutter level is down, tendency to flip the channel also goes down. It would be great advantage if the channel is able to hold the consumers. However, they need to make a big splash about it."
Hiren Pandit of Mindshare agrees, "If the clutter level is high, tendency in the viewers is to move away. Specially, the young viewer has the tendency to flirt with the channels. If they stay with the channel in the duration of commercial break and even after it, it would be good for the channel. However, talking specifically of Channel [V], the viewership is fairly low per say, and hence I don't see it impacting viewership pattern dramatically. However, if there is low clutter level, it would definitely be beneficial for the advertiser."
While the strategy - 'good music 60 seconds away' seems sound, how much tangible impact will it have for the channel remains to be seen. Perhaps first thing Channel [V] should do is to shout from the roof-top that the strategy exists. Media planners haven't tuned in yet.