Youth channels no more charmed by Bollywood music

Youth channels no more charmed by Bollywood music

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MUMBAI: Bollywood music is slowly losing its charm among the youth and music channels as it does not bring any exclusivity or premium value. The main reason: similar content is also available on multiple platforms.

So does that mean that the viewer is no longer looking for the feel of FM radio in the visual space? Is this the reason behind Channel [V]?s latest announcement of doing away with music content completely?

The answer is yes. Bollywood Music has become a commodity and the players are not making the moolah.

So has Channel [V] taken a wise decision to move away from Bollywood music? Answers Channel [V] EVP and GM Prem Kamath, ?We didn?t want to be a commodity channel. We were working on this strategy since over two-and-a-half years and we built it in phases as the cost of original content is too high compared to music. But yes, we are making good progress as the time spent on the channel is too high and all our shows are getting good numbers.?

Last year, the whole youth and music genre got divided into two categories? pure play music channels and youth channels. However, it seems that now there will be four. There will be pure music, gossipy and news-based (Zoom, UTV Stars, E24), youth channels which also air music content (MTV, Bindass), and youth content channels (Channel [V]).

Explains MTV India EVP and business head Aditya Swamy, ?Music in itself has two different categories today. One is acquired music that is Bollywood and all the channels are just platform providers. The second is original music, upon which MTV is focusing more. With shows like Coke Studio, Sound Trippin, and Unplugged, we have created over 150 songs in the last one year. So there is definitely a market.?

These channels need to differentiate in a cluttered market. And by virtue of being a youth nation with 70 per cent youth population, all the channels have youth viewers. So the music channels claim to be youth channels in disguise, says a senior media executive.

Flarepath president Saurabh Kanwar, who has worked at both MTV and Channel [V], believes that music is harder to monetise as it is the same content. "It will, however, continue to survive on channels for some more time. What has changed today is that consumption of music videos has become an internet phenomenon. Ultimately, digital will change the way the channels air content in future. Having said that, original content is very expensive compared to music and it may work on branded platforms because of the legacy.?

But does that mean that music channels will not survive? 9X Media EVP Punit Pandey believes that there is enough market for both the genres to co-exist. ?Why then are so many pure play music channels launching if there is no scope? Our research shows that a viewer knows what he or she wants. If he wants music, he comes to music channels like ours. If he wants fiction or nonfiction shows, he goes to such channels. And monetisation is merely a reflection of performance.?

The genre has 19 players fighting over Rs 3.5-4 billion that they have to share amongst themselves a year as they generate 200-240 GRPs (gross rating points) on a weekly basis. This goes to explain their volatile nature.

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