9X Media's intl music channel 9XO launches on 24 April

9X Media's intl music channel 9XO launches on 24 April


MUMBAI: 9X Media is expanding its fleet of music channels to stay ahead of its competitors in a space that is governed by slow revenue growth and high clutter. The sixth channel in its bouquet will be an international music channel, 9XO.

Making its appearance on 24 April, 9XO will join market leader Vh1 and a recently repositioned Big CBS Spark. An encrypted but free to air channel targeted at the upscale urban youth, it will air English and international music from across the globe.

9XO will also provide a platform called OmeGrown, for independent Indian music bands playing English music to showcase their talent.

Says 9X Media Sr VP and business head Punit Pandey, "Post a series of successful launches across the regional and Hindi markets and the launch of 9XM in the United Kingdom, we are pleased to present 9XO - an international music channel. The urban youth in India clearly feels the need of a platform that delivers International music in a great audio visual format. With 9XO we believe that we address this need gap by airing the best of English and International music."

9XO?s tagline is ?I?m On.? The channel packaging has been designed using pop-art influences from different periods which have been animated. There are elements of humour and attitude. "We worked with different creative agencies including Bombay Design House. The channel?s look is different from the standard graphics that other channels use," says 9XO programming head Luke Keny.

9X Media already runs 9XM (Hindi music), 9X Tashan (Punjabi music), 9X Jhakaas (Marathi music), 9X Jalwa (timeless Bollywood music) and 9XM - UK (Bollywood music for UK audience).

"There is a big resurgence happening in terms of demand and consumption of international music. Youth are becoming increasingly aware of and consuming international trends through platforms like the Internet. Music is a big part of international trends that are influencing the youth," says Kenny.

What will separate 9X0 from its rivals is its positioning of presenting unadulterated music experience. "The aim is to bring the music video experience back full circle the way the audience likes it, uninterrupted? with no non-music programming whatsoever. Other channels stopped being pure music channels a long time ago and started mixing lifestyle and fiction content. We did tests with viewers and we found that they just want to listen to and watch music. They do not want to be interrupted by other kinds of content," avers Kenny.

The channel has stitched content deals with labels like Warner, Sony and Universal. 9XO?s focus will be on Top 40 hits in the US and UK. There will also be a sprinkling of classics to cater to the 25+ age group. The channel will function like a jukebox and offer variety to listeners.

The channel will also have segments such as ?O-Vid?, ?Who Dat?, ?Wotta Song?, ?Hot Sh*t? and ?Out There?.

In terms of marketing, the channel will use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It will also have on-ground and on-campus presence during the May-June period when colleges re-open.

"We will get involved with college festivals. The message will be that anybody who is on international music can watch it. Also anybody that wants to be introduced to international music can tune in," says Keni.

Media agencies say the channel will find it tough to rope in advertisers as the genre is very niche and has no appointment viewing. Also, it will have to fight for eyeballs with other genres like English entertainment.

"Getting in good revenue will not be an easy task for these channels. They will have to get their share of audiences. These channels are very niche in nature," says VivaKi Exchange CEO Mona Jain.

Jain also notes that appointment viewing will not happen. "This genre will compete for revenue with other niche genres like English entertainment which has the likes of AXN and Star World," she avers.

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