Television

'Blogumentary is our USP' : Amar K Deb- Channel [V] India head honcho

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Thirteen years on, Star India's music channel is experimenting with 'blogumentary' content and has adopted the tagline Channel [V] made by you.

The recipe for getting more eyeballs in a genre which is seen to be stagnating also includes the reality format.

In an interview with Indiantelevision.com's Richa Dubey, Channel [V] India head honcho Amar Deb speaks about his plans to incorporate user generated content as a key value of the channel in its new avatar while hanging on to the central positioning of being a "music channel."

Excerpts:

Is there pressure for music channels to reinvent as their revenues are stagnating?

We have revenues going up by 25 per cent every year. Advertisements and trailers are a major source of our income.

MTV has recently repositioned itself as a youth channel. Is Channel [V] also looking to target youth with alternative content outside music?

Channel [V] is a music channel. We love and believe in promoting music. On Channel [V] music is flanked by other stuff like glamour, humour, and fun which are also youth centric.

So you advocate the benefits of non-music properties?

Get Gorgeous is one of the highest rated shows on the channel. It's great because we found some really beautiful looking girls who are not models and they went on to become Miss India and Miss Universe.

We also discover new faces and talent with shows like Launch Pad. Our promos are popular and have got terrific responses. We won 17 awards at Promax, New York. Our average is of getting around 40 awards every year. That is a good sign.

How do you split up the music and non music shows?

We are a music channel and our programmes are all music centric. We largely have music based shows except for a couple of shows like Get Gorgeous. We stick to music while some or other fun things keep happening like Simpoo, Channel [V] IQ etc.

What about the interactive elements that MTV has introduced?

Channel [V] has come up with that by introducing blogs in our content mix. This happened in January and we have got a good response.

How did you go about selecting bloggers?

We had around 2000 people applying for it. We reviewed 200 and finally choose ten of them. Those ten were given hand held cameras and they shot the concert in there own creative ways.

Following this, we did Launch Pad and Get Gorgeous which was also shot by bloggers. With this trend, we have got more and more viewers and people participating in the contests run by us. Thus reinforcing our stand as - Channel [V] made by you.

How else have you extended Blogumentary on Channel [V]?

After the Channel [V] concert, entire eight sessions at Hard Rock Caf? for Launch Pad was shot by bloggers. Get Gorgeous was shot by Bloggers and that is the speed in which we will take the entire concept forward. Blogumentary is our USP and we see others following us.

What happens to the production team if bloggers play such an important role?

Our production team is always there to help our bloggers. It is just a kind of innovation that we are doing. They are the ones who direct the bloggers. The post production team works really hard to make the entire program look interesting. They make sure that bloggers create things that get viewers hooked on to our content.

'On Channel [V] music is flanked by glamour, humour & fun which are also youth centric'

Is this reflecting the new face of Channel [V] which has turned 13?

For the first time on Indian television, we did a 'blogumentary' in Channel [V] concert. Fans and young people had cameras and were shooting the eventwhich saw performances from Atif Aslam, Akon and many more.This resulted in an eight week, spectacular television series of half hours.

With reality shows gaining importance even among music channels, what is your take on the inclusion of this format into programming?

We did reality with Popstars 1 and 2 and Super Singers. These were not talent hunts. They provided platforms for people to perform. However, we are not doing traditional reality shows where judges throw tantrums and walk out. On Channel [V] nothing is scripted. Everything is spontaneous and real.

But isn't controversy a necessary ingredient for a successful reality series?

Unfortunately, today's channels have lost the sense of reality and they are not able to do justice to it. If you do something just for the heck of it to create sensation, it does not prove to be reality.

What are the upcoming properties in the pipeline?

We will unveil My India Report, which is also based on the blogging format. There is a recruitment procedure going on right now which is also online. We want to know whether the new generation really lives with the values that our forefathers lived with. We want to know the views of today's generation on various issues. It's like a docudrama wherein five young people go out, speak to people, and capture it. They will together document what it is to be an Indian today.

The show is still in the pre-production stage. Currently, we are looking for the kids who will travel across the country. The recruitment is happening online. We expect to launch it in three month's time.

Unlike Freedom Express which was promoted by our VJs, My India Report will be done by the freshers and bloggers.

Channel [V] has been very active in the internet space. What are the plans on that front?

We have a strong online presence. Lot of our stuff is lined up in YouTube. Lola videos are amongst the most watched videos on YouTube and she has a large fan following on Orkut.

Channel [V]'s Bai promotion was highly appreciated. All our properties have a vast community on the web. We are very 'new media friendly' - and a lot of the new media generation is aware of what we do. In fact, the band that we found for Launch Pad was through Orkut.

Channel [V] made by you is a huge user generated content phenomena.

What has the channel lined up on the promo front?

So far Simpoo, the animated character, has been by far the best promo that we did. People really liked and enjoyed watching it. So we have a new Simpoo KBC promo coming up.

Our promos always reflect the trends of society. For example, we have a promotion for Get Gorgeous saying Moral Police sue us. It got us eyeballs.

We will be unveiling many more promos including one based on an upcoming Go Green Campaign on Global Warming.

Does Channel [V] bank a lot on movie marketing?

Channel [V] is a popular chosen platform for movie marketing. Rang de Basanti, Bluff Master and Don were some of the exclusive movies that we promoted on Channel [V]. Ram Gopal Verma's Aag is the next movie we are going to promote. We are still working on it.

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