Channels today are going beyond music to attract the youth. Hybridisation of content has become the buzzword, with channels such as UTV Bindass, MTV, and so on focusing on reality and youth based content in addition to music.
For a long time channels have managed to retain their young viewers through music. However, this no longer is the case, sparking off debates on how youth and reality based content is changing the face of the music channel landscape.
Commenting on the trend of mixed content, Nikhil Gandhi, Executive Director Youth Channels, UTV Media Networks, said, “Music is certainly one of the primary drivers in the youth media consumption mix, and Bollywood music is what connects largely with Indian youth. The differentiation of youth channels is through their positioning and content. They give the channel its identity and bring out the core essence of the brand. Bindass is a 360 degree youth brand that connects with the youth through television, web, mobile, through on ground activities, events and consumer products. Bindass started off with a steady mix of music, fiction and reality shows and till date this is what has worked for us as we have managed to build a connect with our TG as a wholesome youth entertainment brand.”
The recent announcement by Channel [v] to reposition itself as a youth centric channel and its subsequent move from the music genre to a more youth based content has also raised the long standing question on what the youth of today identify with and what they are looking for in terms of entertainment on television.
Youth viewership patterns
"Youth viewership is evolving and consumption patterns have changed over the years. The 15-24 core youth segment is far more hungry for specialty content than ever before. In such a scenario, it is imperative for youth channels to innovate and offer what works for building relevance and connect. A healthy programming mix with differentiated content bundled with music and short format is healthy and most importantly keeps them guessing on what’s yet to come. Music is available across many channels and mediums," Gandhi said, while commenting on the youth viewership patterns.
Apart from having slots for music, MTV also features reality based content such as ‘Roadies’ and ‘Splitsvilla’, to name a few. MTV is also soon launching ‘MTV Rush’, which is a 13-part film and would be premiered as a series through 13 high impact episodes. What we see here is an amalgamation of both music and youth related content creating a hybrid channel.
Commenting on the recent hybridisation of content, Amar Tidke, Senior Vice President and Head of Content Programming, 9XM, said, "Music is popular among the youth, but a channel needs to go beyond music to create an identity for themselves. 9XM has a great music selection, but in addition we also leverage on the humour and animation aspect. Music, humour and animation is what basically defines our channel. For some it might be about presenting fiction and reality based shows along with music."
“Channels need to constantly innovate and reinvent themselves among genres so as to provide unique content to the viewers and cater to the ever evolving tastes of the youth. The general idea is to find out what one wants to do and create a winning format that would be loved by the target audience,” said Tidke.