Channel V, part of the Star India Network has recently changed their strategy to become a 24-hour music channel for the youth. The channel launched in 1996, originally started off as a pure music channel, then in 2012, it converted itself into a youth general entertainment channel and is now back to focusing on its core proposition - music.
According to media experts, one of the primary focus of Channel V will now be on acquiring international music, something which the youth is looking out for today. Some of the new shows on the revamped Channel V are Dance with V, Hit Machine, Late Night V, Most W@nted, V Hangover and V International.
In 2010, Channel V came up with its debutante tele-serial ‘Roomies’ showcasing the lives of five friends living in the same house. Over the years, the channel created popular properties like Sadda Haq, Gumrah, Heroes, Mastaangi, Dare 2 Date, Get Gorgeous and others. From the end of July this year, the channel switched off all its fiction and non-fiction properties to concentrate only on music programmes. We reached out to Star Network to understand the reason behind the sudden change in channel positioning and their future plans, but no response was elicited from them till the time of filing the story.
Marginal change in viewership pattern
According to data provided by Bangalore based media-tech start-up Zapr, the reach of Channel V has seen only a marginal change in terms of the viewership with the recent channel revamp. For the time period (May-June), Channel V got 114 million views and for the (July-August and half of September) time frame, the channel has garnered 116.5 million viewership.
Throwing some light on the change in the content plan of the channel, Deepak Baid, Cofounder & COO, ZAPR said, “Given viewership data across the Zapr Media Universe, we see a consistent weekly viewership trend for Channel V overall, even though the content has changed drastically. Regarding individual shows, pre-August Gumrah lead the viewership by a considerable margin, clearly the channel's flagship show. Post content change, August numbers reveal that while V Non-Stop was the most popular, viewers were more spread out across the rest of Channel V's content. Channel V's position with relation to other Youth and music channels is unchanged, however, given the major content changeover happened only in August we expect more trends being revealed in the coming months."
Here’s how the top shows on the channel are standing in terms of reach before and after the revamp:
Competition in the music genre and youth channel space:
Since Channel V has now entered the music space, it will have to face stiff competition from channels like Sony Mix, Mastiii, 9XM, B4U Music and BINDASS which has been leading the viewership chart for the last few months.
According to week 36 (September 3-9) of the BARC data, Channel V at present does not feature in the top five music channels or youth channels. According to media reports, the impact of rural ratings have favoured music channels more than the youth channels which have shows that largely cater to the urban audience. The huge difference in the viewership numbers are a proof of that the fact that music genre is garnering more viewership from the audience than youth based content.
The top five music channels in the music genre category in the week under consideration are Mastiii, B4U Music, Sony MIX, 9XM and 9X Jalwa. Mastiii led the chart with 114.6 million weekly impressions, followed by B4U Music with 74.5 million impressions and Sony Mix (67.4 million impressions).
On the other hand, in the youth genre category, MTV led the chart with 11.2 million weekly impressions, followed by Zing (8.5 million impressions), Bindass (7 million impressions) and Zoom with (6.3 million impressions).
Brand campaign to promote Channel V’s latest positioning
The channel has also launched a brand new campaign to talk about their latest rebranding initiative. In order to highlight the channel’s distinctive proposition, BBH came up with the risqué positioning – ‘Channel V-The Shallowest Place on TV’. With Indian youth being the main target, the launch marketing campaign includes a 360-degree approach.
Will the new strategy work?
Commenting on whether the channel’s latest strategy will work, Kunal Jamuar, Managing Partner – West and South, Havas Media Group said, “Channel V at one point was the No.1 music channel in the country which it has somewhat lost its direction along the way. Given that it has gone through a few re-launches, I am not sure the consumer would know what to expect or notice from the change clearly. What they need is for people to begin sampling them again and a mix of English and Hindi does give them a bit of a chance compared to Hindi or English specific channels.”
K Srinivas Rao, National Director-Buying, Mediacom added, “Channel V started off as a music channel, post that they evolved into a youth entertainment channel, when they found competitive channels like MTV introducing a lot of youth based content shows. It worked to an extent for the channel, but by completely shifting their focus from music, they lost out on those audiences who wanted to listen to only music. This time, they are back to their basic ethos and will also be focusing a lot on international music content. I feel this strategy might just work in favour for them but in my opinion they shouldn't have given up music at any point of time.”
The concept of music channels coming up with serials became popular, when in 2004, MTV India, in collaboration with Balaji Telefilms, launched its first fiction serial ‘Kitni Mast Hain Zindagi’.
Echoing similar belief, Hitesh Gossain, Founder of Onspon.com also feels that the channel’s latest strategy is going to work because they are focusing on their core USP now.
Will there be a dip in the revenue of the channel?
“The larger threat however, still remains that digital and mobile availability of music which may mean that Channel V’s latest move will only reduce the scope of revenue generation for the channel which reality shows provided,” according to Jamuar from Havas Media.
Giving a rough estimate of the ad rates for a music programme versus a reality show, Gossain said, “They are almost on a similar level depending on popularity. For original content in music which gets a significant outreach - music is better - also these are individual capsules quite unlike series which need to be followed in totality.”
“Music show has a lot of tech-riders hence the typical cost of a music show is higher. However, with the locations of entertainment/reality shows getting outdoors and multiple camera setups - the costs are in the same range for equivalent quality,” he pointed.
Rao from Mediacom further elaborated, “Reality shows, if they have become cult shows, they are sold separately. On the other hand, for pure music shows, putting a price or a premium is not possible, unless it is one of the flagship properties of the music channel. It will then be promoted in that manner. I don't feel the cost will go down drastically; if producing serials or reality show is not there, acquiring international content is also not easy. One needs to shell a huge price for it.”