INX Media is all set to launch its 24-hour Hindi music channel 9XM. Targetted at the 16-19 age group, 9XM will be focussing primarily on Bollywood, which it has termed as ‘Bollygood Music’ ‘Haq Se’. The channel is slated to go on air by October-end or beginning of November.
According to Vikas Varma, Head of Music Entertainment Channels, INX, the best way to understand the channel was to experience it for oneself. He said, “Before creating the channels, my struggle was how to differentiate my channel from my competitors. 9XM will have a lot of interactive elements that will be part of the channel. Apart from the cliché activities like contests, goodie bags, poems, etc., there will also be some cool animation and graphics. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to create content for 9XM.”
Speaking on the thought process, Varma said that today the youth was all into multi-tasking. They liked to discover things on their own, and the look of the channel would be talking about itself. He further noted that a teenager got bored in less than 10 seconds, thus, a lot of animation had been created to go with the track that would be aired. He said, “The channel’s only formula is of having no formula. But the important thing is that the channel needs to do different things on the screen to engage the viewers and make them look for new stuff every time.”
9XM will make its debut on three screens – television, mobile and computer. Though there would be no VJs, the channel would have some fun animated characters such as ‘Bheegi Billi’, singing away his worries; ‘Bade and Chote’, cracking some rib tickling PJs; and ‘the Beetels’ from Lucknow, who are into sher-o-shaayaris. These characters appear between the smash hit ‘Bollygood’ songs.
On the reason of why the channel did not have any VJs, Varma replied that they were very boring and that “VJs are passé.”
The animation has been done partly in-house, while some have been outsourced. Varma, however, refused to divulge further information on the animation agency. Commenting on the programming, he said that the channel package was Bollywood style with original programming. The channel would air the latest hits, with the tracks going back a maximum 4-5 years being classified as ‘Retro’.
On the channel’s USP, Varma explained that the focus was complete Bollywood. “Bollywood style is great. I strongly believe that there is no style better than Bollywood style. And the fact is that the most popular form of entertainment among Indians all over the world is Hindi movies,” he added.
As for the Marketing plans, Varma said there won’t be large scale advertisement for the channel. He said, “Take the instance of ‘Chak De India’, it was a great product, but had no publicity. The whole movie was all about winning and that’s what our channel is all about. So, I really don’t want to get into the publicity zone.”
In terms of interactions, the channel will have a ticker at the bottom of the screen, where audiences will be able to share and express their love or hatred for the channel. The interactive element has been carried forward, wherein viewers can share their jokes, poems or shayaris with the channel. On the digital front, the channel has its website www.9XM.in, wherein the channel’s core TG can create communities of its own.
“Unlike other channels, where many of them claim to be also youth channels, we are confident of being the only music channel representing Bollywood style. There is no two ways about that,” Varma asserted, adding, “There will be no TV serials on our music channel.”