The Hindi music channels have had an eventful 2007. Traditional leader of the genre – MTV – has seen much excitement in the year with various new initiatives, the biggest one being the re-launch that the channel underwent in July 2007 after a gap of over a decade. The revamp came on the heels of MTV Networks India’s parent company, Viacom, forming a joint venture with Network18 to launch Viacom18 Media that was announced in May 2007.
Another big move in the year was INX Media launching its music channel 9X M in October 2007. 9X M was clear that the channel would do things “differently”. Consequently, the channel was launched with virtually no marketing, and even with no VJs (video jockeys) who otherwise are the face and also a large selling point for any music channel. If the initial numbers are anything to go by, it would appear that the strategy has, at least so far, paid off.
TAM Media Research shows that for the C&S 15-34 in the Hindi speaking markets, ever since its launch in week 43, 9X M has been adding more numbers to be the lead player in the music genre from week 44 onwards. The latest reported week, week 50, in fact gives 9X M more channel shares that any music channel has seen in the year. Many industry observers attribute this growth to the channel’s distribution, and also to the fact that the channel is advertising-free at present, and also free-to-air.
At the time of its launch, 9X M officials stated that the channel was targeted at the 16-19 age group, and would be focussing primarily on Bollywood, which it has termed as ‘Haq Se’. INX Media officials have added that the advertising on 9X M was also set to begin. Whether this makes a change in the channel’s performance would be an interesting watch in 2008.
Meanwhile, MTV has ruled in the first 43 weeks of the year, the period from April 2007 to mid-June 2007 giving the channel some of its best numbers in the year. Some interesting programming initiatives seen from the channel in the first quarter of the year were the cricket spoof ‘Aila Tendulkar’ in February 17, 2007, and the morning show ‘MTV Kick Ass Morning’ in the following month. The MTV ratings graph has seen a decline in the subsequent months.
Another channel that started the second quarter well was Music India – second only to MTV in this period. The channel was ahead of the likes of Channel [v], but in subsequent weeks, Music India lost some share, and Channel [v] added enough share for these channels to closely compete with each other, with occasional interruptions from B4U Music and Zee Music.
While Channel [v] and Music India continued in the race, Zee Music and B4U Music fell behind. The story in the last quarter of the year very clearly see 9X M as the number one player, followed by MTV. Channel [v] is on the number three position with the exception of some weeks when Music India takes that slot. B4U Music is on the fifth position and Zee Music is on the sixth slot. Music channel Lemon, which was launched by K Sera Sera in early 2007, did gather some numbers in the period from week 12 to week 40, but post that there is nothing from Lemon at all.
Will 9X M continue this dream run in 2008; what further can be expected from MTV; can Channel [v] regain some of the ratings charm that it was exuding in 2006 in the New Year? This is going to be one interesting genre to watch out for in the coming year.
Genre Check: MTV leads in music channels; newcomer Music India picks up