SS Music in the last two and a half years since inception has done remarkably well to offer stiff competition to the likes of MTV and Channel V. The TAM data in recent weeks show SS music bob up and down amidst the top two rungs of the chart for the whole of South. The week ending December 6, 2003 for instance put SS Music at the top in TAM Charts for the whole of South. It dropped to the second place in the week ending December 13, 2003 and then picked up pace again in the week ending Dec 20, 2003. The states of Tamilnadu, Kerela and Hyderabad augur well for SS Music. The restraining quell in the success wave is Karnataka which continues to be MTV’s domain. The recent spurts of activity in terms of organizing VJ hunts in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, revamping program content, streamlining marketing and enhancing distribution networks with special emphasis on Hyderabad has helped register a steady increase in ratings, in the past few weeks, for SS Music.
The data for the week ending December 6, 2003, for the target group of 15-34 yrs, SEC ABC, C&S in total South and for the time band between 4.00pm and 11.30pm, shows Southern Spice Music at the top rung in South India with a reach of 11.31% as against 9.13% of MTV and 7.01% of Channel V. The channel shares for the same showed SS Music at 34%, MTV at 29% and Channel V at 13%. The tam data for the week ending Dec 13, 2003 for the same target group and time band had SS Music with a cumulative reach of 11%, MTV at 10.56 and Channel V with an improved 9.26%. The channel shares for the same showed SS Music at 22%, MTV at 35%, and V at 16%.
The channel shares, for the week ending December 20 2003, for the primetime category in total south puts Southern Spice Music neck to neck with MTV at 27% with Channel V at 15% and the cumulative reach reads SS Music at 10.4%, MTV at 9.91% and Channel V at 7.02%.
What is your USP, which has helped to compete with the likes of MTV and V? Replies Nischal Kumtakar, Head Sales & Marketing, Southern Spice Music, “ SS Music has no competition in the South. The only competition is from the National music channels, but those channels do not have major significance in South. Southern Spice Music is the only multi-lingual music channel in India playing music in English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. Content is different from others in terms of packaging and presentation. Also English is the link language with the audiences in all the four Southern states.”
After a year of the launch the channel underwent a complete revamp and was received well among the audience. This seems to have been the first big step for the channel. During the initial stages the objective of the channel was to secure itself as a brand after which with a steady increase in creative inputs it started to compete for the top rungs. Says Kumtakar, “The high point for SS Music came when the media compared SS Music with MTV and Channel V within a year of its existence. This spurred on the success of the channel.”
On the marketing front, setting up sales offices all over India, events like a four state VJ hunt in the South and a new technology driven programme called “Virtual Request” that has made a good impact have been the highlights in the year 2003, which just ended.
Talking about distribution efforts, Nischal Kumtakar, says, “Southern Spice Music is now available on air in Mumbai, New Delhi and other select parts of North India and we are in talks with major MSOs in other regions to extend our reach to the whole of North India.”
Speaking of SS music’s success in non-metros, Kumtakar says, “SS Music plays the music of all southern languages. Hence the people from the non-metros and small towns are able to relate to it as they get to watch the local language. Also the aspiration for individuals there is to become westernized. So they look up to all VJs of the channel to get attuned to the latest in terms of fashion and style. The channel has an international feel to it, which appeals to all viewers.”
Reflecting on the difference in the programming mix between SS Music and its competitors, Kumtakar says, “Apart from offering music in all southern languages we also pay equal attention to International and Hindi music, where as in MTV and Channel V the focus is more on Hindi music.”
Why is Bangalore a tough market for you to crack? Says, Kumtakar, “Bangalore has a more cosmopolitan outlook and is Hindi dominated. Hence SS Music has not yet been able to make the same impact as its competitors.”
Talking about efforts to strengthen this market, Kumtakar says, “SS Music is trying to organize a lot of ground events in Bangalore to push the youth audience to get associated with the channel. Recently the VJ Hunt was held at Bangalore, which made a huge impact and gave a lot of visibility to the channel. Music talent hunt and other events are in the pipeline. On the programming front, International music and Hindi music content is going to be further strengthened to make the channel more appealing to this market. Distribution is also going to be strengthened in Bangalore to improve the reach of the channel in the city.”
Some of the avenues, the channel is looking at, in 2004, are technology driven shows catering to niche segments, special interest programmes, strong distribution network, ground events, competitions targeted at youth and promoting upcoming regional talent especially new entrants in the music arena in all languages.