Music channels are gearing up for another battle. The wrestle for ratings is on, and Zee Music has decided that it is time to contest rival music channels. Accordingly, the channel has embarked on an aggressive revamp campaign – four new programmes, six new VJs, and a hard-hitting advertising blitzkrieg. The channel has also lined up for the first time in India ‘live programming’, the duration of which would be ramped up from the introductory two hours to twenty-four hours shortly.
The tone of nearly all the music channels revolves around a hip-hop western outlook, with a music mix of 70% Indian and 30% Western. What would differentiate Zee Music from the others? “We are all set to launch a live interactive music show that would be the first of its kind; other music channels only show pre-recorded shows,” explained Niyati Shah, Programming and Brand Head, Zee Music. (Phone-in shows on MTV and [V] are pre-recorded even though they appear ‘live’, according to Zee Music). “Our effort would be to ramp up the live shows to at least three-four hours a day soon, and to twenty-four hours in a few months time,” she continued.
By February-end, a studio in Noida will start beaming live shows, getting popular artistes like Shaan and Sonu Nigam to play requests, making it the first music channel in India to do live shows. Six new VJs have been lined up to infuse pep and energy into the shows: Roob, Parimal, Manish, Vishal, Karan and Adita. The new programmes to hit the air include ‘Please toh play’ (a one-hour live show), ‘Signs,’ ‘Item Bomb,’ and ‘Imported.’
Although Bollywood and Indipop music would dominate the music mix, about 10% would comprise international music. Additionally, Zee Music has an advantage over other music channels because of their vast library of films that it can draw upon – a whopping 74%.
Hoardings proclaiming that Zee Music is the “Sound of Music” would start appearing soon but a bigger splash across media is expected. According to Shah, close to Rs 10.5 million would be spent on the promotional campaign next month, which would cover outdoors, the electronic medium and radio. Moreover, since Zee Music is positioning itself as the total music channel, in contrast to competition that is “either a youth channel or an imitation”, Shah feels that an aggressive strategy is bound to spell success.
Shah pointed to the positive response from advertisers. “Advertisers have been very positive. We have clinched deals with 15 brands; there are still a few in the pipeline, and in a year’s time we should be able to have all the major ones,” she said.
In its re-invented form, Zee Music has put together all the necessary ingredients – new faces, new programmes, and a lot of music. Will this call to arms draw blood? Rival music channels have never regarded Zee Music as serious competition. The fun would begin if Zee Music delivers, and they are strained to respond to its war cry.