MUMBAI: Five months is not much time for a fledgling television channel to prove itself but that’s now how Music F – Fatafati operates.
Launched on 25 January, the channel from Royal Raj Media and Launch Pad has already registered numero uno position in week 19 of TAM TV ratings. What’s more, it has garnered a weekly GVT of 978 as compared to its competitors: Sangeet Bangla (807 GVTs) and DHM Bangla (714 GVTs).
While this is no mean feat, Launch Pad director Vikas Varma feels five months is a tad longer than what it would have usually taken him to reach the number one spot. “If you look at my record, it has taken a little longer than it should have. When I launched 9XM, we became number one in two weeks and beat MTV, which was the number one channel then. When I launched Hummra M (Bhojpuri music channel), it took me four weeks to become number one. In comparison, it has taken us a little longer here in Bengal. But that only goes to show how strong the market in Bengal is and how strong the competition is,” said Varma.
So what is it about Music F - Fatafati that has endeared it to Bengali viewers? For starters, the 24*7 free-to-air channel targets the 15-24 years age group and airs the latest Bengali music. 20-30 per cent of the content is original with high-octane music in the mornings and evenings and softer, more romantic numbers in the afternoons. Punctuating the music shows are 3D animations and cartoon shorts around the channel’s comic heroes – Jagai, Madhai and Pappi Da.
There isn’t too much research unlike most other channels. “There is not a high intensity research per se. We never did too much of research earlier also. It is just the basic TAM research that the team does every week in terms of connectivity and time spent,” informed Varma.
Ask Varma and he says the entire personality of the channel is the key differentiator which has worked in its favour. “It is a cool, sophisticated and down-to-earth channel. By default, that is the place where everyone wants to go. If you look at it, the songs are the same which are running on all other channels; it is the personality which is different,” he said.
While the channel didn’t have a single advertiser during the first month, it has now attracted several advertisers. “Right now, we have got 30 plus brands advertising on our channel. And a lot of new brands are also coming on. Advertisers are very bullish about the channel,” said Varma, adding that most advertisers are now supporting Fatafati as it is giving them numbers.
The channel’s distribution on cable is 100 per cent, while it still has no presence on DTH. “Obviously, we want to expand our distribution, but it is too expensive and we are hoping that we will come on all the DTH platforms soon,” reasons Varma.
A property to which Varma attributes a large portion of Fatafati’s success is Dance Party Jhinchak, a show that was launched on 14 April. Having collaborated with Hindustan Unilever’s immensely popular male grooming brand AXE, this property had been designed on a similar theme as the AXE Boat Party. It was aired between 10-10.30 pm every day for a period of three months.
Extensive marketing activation was done in Kolkata including hoardings, radio spots and tying up with Radio Mirchi. “This is one of the reasons why ratings have gone up,” said Varma. According to insiders, while close to Rs 20 to Rs 25 crore is required to start a regional music channel, in the case of Fatafati, between Rs 15 to Rs 20 crore was invested. Varma informed that the channel was on course to break even sooner than later.