The music channel genre promises to see an influx of new entrants this year.
As reported by exchange4media in October 2010, Multi Screen Media (MSM), which currently offers three channels – Sony Entertainment Television, SAB and PIX – planned to launch a 24-hour Hindi music channel by mid-December. As per resources close to the development, the new channel has been tentatively named as 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, including Punjabi and Bengali, 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 Pvt Ltd (CAPL), Reliance Broadcasting Network Ltd (RBNL) will be refreshing existing player, Imagine Showbiz, previously owned by Turner. RBNL, too, has received the FIPB permit for expansion via sale of 20 per cent stake to bring in foreign investment of Rs 45.47 crore.
BIG CBS Spark, a youth channel from the BIG CBS venture, is also due for launch this year.
Typically, purely music channels have low entry and setting up costs and are sustainable on low-cost operations when compared to a Hindi 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 on an expensive side or lesser. These rights are usually bought for a specified amount or unlimited airings through the year.
Commenting on networks enhancing their offering with a music channel, Anamika Mehta, Chief Operating Officer, Lodestar UM, said, “9XM has managed to sustain their success after not being successful in the general entertainment space. 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, it expands their offering and helps them be present across genres. India being a young country, music helps connect with audiences and for a large network, it makes complete sense to branch out.”
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 added, “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 advertiser’s table, sharing his views on the matter, Sameer Sathpathy, Marketing Head, Marico, said, “Brands need to keep reinventing to maintain relevance; it is part of this category. Media brands have a specific task and at the moment, they need to keep things dynamic and exciting in search of ‘the next big thing’. Competition is always good as it pushes people to innovative and widens the market. Apart from creating a market, it expands the market and this will make advertisers happy. If the channels operate within the same market and it is only a portfolio game to have a music channel in the offering too, it is not equally beneficial.”
Sudip Ghose, Director, Marketing, South Asia, Samsonite, told exchange4media, “Music in a mass Hindi genre space has potential as they deliver value to an advertiser. Regional channels come under the niche buying category, which help tap frequency for the right, but are low on reach. If the viewership base enlarges, it works well for everybody.”
Whether or not, the industry has grown on the whole is questionable. In the nine weeks of 2011, as per data from TAM Media Research in the CS 15-34 group in Hindi Speaking Markets, MTV has seen an upswing post a few slacking weeks, 9XM and Bindaas have seen a rise, while Mastiii has seen a slight drop since Week 6.
As of Week 9 (February 19 to 26) MTV stands at 0.94 per cent channel share, followed by 9XM at 0.9 per cent, Mastiii at 0.7 per cent, Bindaas at 0.68 per cent, followed by B4U Music and Channel [v] at about 0.5 per cent per cent. At the moment, Music India follows closest at 0.4 per cent, while Imagine Showbiz, Zing and ETC claim around 0.8 per cent to 0.13 per cent of the pie.