Zee Music set to sing different tune

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Having revamped itself earlier with not much success, Zee Music, thus far Zee's sickly baby, is having another go at being recognized as the numero uno. And, this time with a gusto.

The programming has been revamped, a marketing and advertising blitz planned, and the turntable is ready to play the music of success. So much so that the channel has also lined up for the first time, it claims so, a truly live music show, the duration of which would be ramped up in the coming months.

Zee Music head programming & brand Niyati Shah chilling out

" We are all set to launch a true and live interactive music show that would be the first of its kind as others (read MTV and Channel V) only show recorded shows," Niyati Shah, the programming and brand head of Zee Music, told in Delhi on Thursday on the sidelines of a rocking party held here to announce the new-look Zee Music.

Zee Music feels that this would be the Viagra that would propel it to the No. 1 slot because despite an infusion of vitamins by way of a revamp in late August last year, the channel had refused to gain much weight in the music channel genre, recording a very slight growth and patchy ratings. 

By end-February, a Noida studio, on the outskirts of Delhi, will start beaming live music shows, getting popular artistes like Shaan and Sonu Nigam into the studios and playing songs on request from viewers, making it the first music channel in India to do live shows. (All other phone in shows on channels like MTV and [V] are pre-recorded; even though they are made to appear as live shows.)

Niyati Shah with Zee Music Veejays

Even new veejays have been lined up for a channel that has witnessed some distribution problems. The new kids who join the gang at Zee Music include Roob, Parimal, and Manish from Delhi and Vishal, Karan and Adita from Mumbai. The new shows to hit the air include Please toh play (the one-hour live show in the evening), Signs, Item Bomb and Imported.

According to Shah, though a major portion of the airtime would be taken up by the Hindi film music and Indipop, about 10 per cent would comprise of international music. "Our effort would be to ramp up the live shows to at least three-four hours a day soon," she adds.

The end-February splash will have a lavish promotional blitz spun around it, signs of which are already apparent in some media. Hoarding proclaiming that Zee Music is the 'Sound of Music' would start appearing in cities, but a bigger splash across media is expected.

For a change, Zee seems to be a bit serious about the music channel. According to Shah, close to Rs. 10.5 million would be spent on the media blitz for a month, which would cover outdoors, the electronic medium and the 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. " At the moment, we have about 15 brands on the channel and in an year's time we should be able to have all the major ones, including those belonging to Hindustan Levers (the biggest media spender)," she adds.

Niyati Shah in the Party

Shah points bout that Zee Music has an advantage over other music channels because of the vast library of films that it can draw upon and feels that in an year's time the channel would be not only making music, but also revenue. Other music channels, points out Shah, have to depend on promos, unlike Zee Music that can play full songs too.

According to industry estimates, MTV corners 25 per cent of the market share in the music channel genre, while Channel V and Zee Music have been fighting for the second place with share ranging between 20-22 per cent.

Considering Zee channels have shown promise, but failed to deliver the desired results, it remains to be seen whether the second revamp of Zee Music --- fighting a now-improving distribution set up and penetration --- be the real; song of love and revenue.

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