For channels like VH 1, growing in the Indian market seems to be a dicey affair, especially in the absence of enough data that can ascertain the channel’s fate. To know whether the channel is on track, VH 1 commissioned IMRB to conduct a survey profiling the VH 1 viewer. The channel is happy with the findings and shares more on the changes in the other aspects as well, that have contributed to these findings.
The IMRB survey was conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai for the SEC AB 15-34 and throws interesting details about the VH 1 viewer. The findings show that the VH 1 viewer earns more money, owns expensive goods, is more sociable, likes to shop, and the audience on the whole is male skewed.
“These are very encouraging facts around the channel, implying that we are on the right track,” said Keertan Adyanthaya, GM, VH 1. “Ever since its launch, the channel has grown from strength-to-strength, creasing out problems we faced in the beginning in various areas and things are finally falling in place,” he asserted.
The programming on the channel was always designed to be international content only. The change that VH 1, however, brought in was to familiarise the Indian audience with this kind of content. “We introduced vignettes and capsules that threw some light on international music and stars,” informed Adyanthaya. A few examples of these in-house vignettes are the currently on-air ones called ‘You Oughta Know’.
Adyanthaya throws light on the programmes that have generated feedback in the Indian market. “Some of the ones that are constantly spoken about are ‘Behind the Music’, ‘Driven’, Fabulous Life’ and ‘All Access’. In addition to these, our live events always generate a lot of interest and in India, too, the response – from viewer and consequently advertisers – have increased every time.”
He further said that it was observed that reality shows also generate interest in the Indian market. ‘Hogan’ was released last week and the channel is bringing ‘Surreal Life’ next year. One property that is working well for the channel is the ‘Ticket 2 Win’. “A thing typical of our TG is to get a real experience of music and with this property we enable that,” explained Adyanthaya, adding, “This is one of our shows that is really growing.”
He further said that the channel had always followed a focussed approach in its marketing. With the exception of the launch campaign where was mass media was used, the VH 1 marketing largely sought brand fits and areas that threw relevant TG.
“We have done a lot of tie-ups with youth joints like gyms, salons, music houses and so on. There is in-store branding here, our commercials play on the television sets in these joints and they make relevant noise around our new shows too,” he said.
Some of the marketing tie-ups that the channel has done include Coffee Day Xpress, Planet M, Sify iWays, INOX cinemas, Zaf gyms and Gold's Gym, Juice, Nalini & Yasmin, Raih, Waters, Habib's. In Bangalore, tie-ups are seen in places like Bounce, Squeeze & Sprat and so on.
In addition to this, the channel also engages in college festivals for Rock Fest nights that again serve as ideal brand fits. Another strength for the channel comes in the tie-ups with visiting international stars. “90 per cent of them tie up with us and this always helps in generating positive buzz around the channel,” remarked Adyanthaya.
One of the first areas that needed attention for the channel was its distribution. The channel has focussed on this in the last four months to improve its distribution for the key areas.
“The distribution was in the 15-20 per cent range. From the May 2005 period, this has been changing, and currently, in markets like Mumbai and Bangalore we have achieved 80-85 per cent distribution, and Delhi is also seeing almost a 50 per cent,” divulged Adyanthaya, adding, “We are on course of our target though, which is to reach 12 million households.”
Speaking more on the IMRB research that also showed that perception of VH 1 was that of a trendy and more glamorous channel in English entertainment, Adyanthaya said, “The findings are definitely better than we thought. We were not expecting such a positive outcome. We are on the right track and we invite people in the elevator on its way up.”
Needless to say that as far as numbers are concerned, there isn’t much that comes across for VH 1, even in select audiences. The fact that the channel has been able to add the advertisers that it did shows that the fraternity is banking on the buzz that the channel has created in its relevant TG. Once further changes in data services or addressability platforms come in – whether the scene changes – would be an interesting watch.