B4U Music to build brand with different programme genres

MUMBAI: B4U Music, hitherto a quiet player in the music channel segment, is bustling to make its presence felt among the plethora of me too music channels.

The channel will introduce ten new shows which will cater to a wide spectrum in the next ten days. From night clubs to looking at issues affecting those in the 15-20 age bracket, the new line up promises something for everyone.

This is not all. B4U has also undergone organisational changes. Ravi Nair, who used to earlier head B4U Movies Worldwide has also taken charge of the music channel a couple of months ago after B4U Music head Kalyan Sunderam quit. Similarly, Yugandar who used to be in charge of the creative for the movie channel is now also overseeing the music channel.

Speaking to about the new programme initiatives Nair says, " In terms of concepts these shows are very ambitious. An Indian music channel has not tried such shows."

About the target audience, Nair points out that any music channel looks at an audience in the age group 15-35. B4U Music however also targets people upto 44. As far as a shift in direction, is concerned Nair says," We are looking at the area of property building rather than just being known as a channel that airs music based shows. We are looking at getting into more interactive programming. While the logo will not change, the channel will have a more international, vibrant look."

Dwelling on channel share, Nair says, "The share of B4U Music has gone up. We are fighting along with Channel V for the number three spot. In some areas, they are strong while in others we hold the edge. Six months back, our share was in the range of 0.30. Now it is 0.50. We see a spurt in viewership mostly in the mornings. It starts coming down at four and after six in the evening the general entertainment channels take over. In the North, B4U Movies is 1.10."

As far as B4U Movies was concerned, Nair says that for six months it hadn't gotten into acquiring big ticket releases. Now however it was looking to at acquisitions. He refused to divulge the names of titles, however, that were being examined. B4U has a tie up with iDream Productions. He also mentioned that the broadcaster was in talks with Saregama India which has just entered the area of film production. B4U is not looking at concentrating too much on making films that will go straight away onto television. "Film branding basically happens in theatres. So we will work with producers looking to make releases for the silver screen" Nair says.

As far as interactive measures are concerned, Nair feels live interactivity is some time away from the broadcaster. Right now it would be recorded. This will happen a couple of months from now. Asked if any on-ground events were in the pipeline, Nair says, " Most of the shows that we are producing have the potential to become on-ground events." Nair hinted that an onground event centred around a show would start a month after it had gone on air.

As far as ad revenues are concerned, Nair says that ad revenues for the music channel were better than those for the movie channel. On the pay front, B4U Movies is slowly picking up. Post CAS the price would stay at Rs. 10 while B4U Music would continue to be free to air. 2000 boxes have been seeded for B4U Movies in six months. For B4U Music there are 3000 boxes.

Elaborating further on CAS Nair said, "I don't think that anyone has an answer to CAS. The Indian market is very complex and it is very easy for us to say that the government does not know what it is doing. The Rs. 72 for all channels is only a temporary measure and viewers should not expect all channels to come free. Entertainment should not be treated as a necessity," Nair says.

Watch this space for further details about B4U Music's new programme initatives.

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