Vh1 reincarnates; to air Global Citizen 2016 live

MUMBAI: It seems like a win-win for the two eventful happenings. In a move to be the go-to destination for international music, entertainment and pop culture, Vh1 is all set to unveil its new refreshed branding. The channel’s logo, which has two windows (perpendicular) in red and magenta, will now change to purple. The philosophy of the channel -- Get With It, will remain unchanged.

The brand's new logo will come into effect on 19 November. Introducing India to the refreshed Vh1 experience will be Demi Lovato, Coldplay and Jay-Z Live at the most awaited Global Citizen Festival 2016. The channel will air the live broadcast of all the performances.

“There could not have been a bigger, more entertaining and relevant platform than Global Citizen Festival to showcase the brand new Vh1. As we are partnering with them as a network, we spoke to the organisers and they were more than happy to telecast it live on Vh1. Only 100,000 people will be able to watch it impulsively but what about the millions of people who cannot witness the concert for whatever reason,” said Viacom18 business head English and youth entertainment Ferzad Palia.

The live telecast is an overall arrangement of the network and has the same advertisers that go across the communities. Added to the channel’s existing loyal advertisers, it has got few new advertisers on board from across the categories (FMCG, e-commerce, automobiles, etc).

Palia added, “We have followed our own identity in India all through. Our rebranding has nothing to do with the international logo. However, we had rebranded five years ago. We need to give the brand a completely new look. It needs to be in sync with the way viewership palettes are moving. We have put the logo through a lot of testing and this one came out unanimously as the preferred layout. The colour is more vibrant, more holistic. We are still the window for India about what is going on, on the international music circuit and we have just expanded that window with the channel’s new look.

With the refreshed look, the channel now has a new primetime at 8:30pm which has shows based on pop culture, entertainment, etc. It also boasts a whole new set-up of music and non-music based programming.

“We have expanded from being a music channel to things which revolve around them which stood for the plus to being music plus plus and, of course, the local programming,” added Palia.

The channel will, for the first time, bring alive engaging original programming like Vh1 Inside access with Miss Malini and Vh1 India Diaries. The former show is based on how Indian and international celebrities react to pop culture and what they do with things synonymous to the channel.

Vh1 has led several special events in the past. Right from the time of its launch till date, Vh1 has been home to live telecasts such as Live Earth, Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, American Music Awards, etc across countries at the same time. This has not only brought the channel exceptional surge in its viewership but has also increased the consumer engagement with the brand. “From being the window to a world, our endeavour is to be the one-stop destination for everything and special events form a very important part of it. That is why we have 12 or 13 award shows, which will keep increasing. The social quotient is humongous with the amount of conversations, engagements that you can drive with your audiences, etc is unparalleled,” Palia added.

The rebranding will be also promoted through touch-point based activation in 10-12 markets which will be doubled to 20-25 markets. There will be heavy on-ground activities across colleges, buses, salons, cinema halls, etc. It plans to have over a 1000 touch points that will be active on an on-going basis.

By reaching out to 50 million households in India, Vh1 by far is the most differentiated channel on TV because of its offering. “If you look at it from a differentiation point of view, there is no other channel that does it. The consumers and advertisers both love us for it,” asserted Palia.

The channel is not looking at rural India for now and believes that it is not its core audience. “The BARC-defined ‘rural’ is not our immediate audience. With Phase IV of digitisation, there will be a new set of people who will be able to receive the channel. But, that is not our core audience. The urban audience itself is very wide. Even within that, our focus is on the one million-plus audience which we have deeply penetrated into and see great growth coming from,” opined Palia.

With the demand for international music growing in India, the channel is observing huge growth in its consumption. Palia added, “English music is clearly expanding. When we speak to individual parties having interest in both western and Indian music, there seems to be a clear surge in the amount of consumption of international music (including that on the streaming sites). The demand is coming from people between in 15-30 age-group. A few years ago, the share of international music consumption in India was around three per cent which has lately jumped to 20-25 per cent. We have several indicators to look at in the absence of one source of data.”

Palia does not see any threat from online streaming services in India. He asserted, “We have always maintained that what we lacked in India since the channel’s inception in 2005 is an eco-system that supports international music. And, we being at the forefront of it, do everything feasible on TV, digital, etc. -- it is fantastic to see more and more people now seeing the benefit of pushing it. We have done the hard work and cultivated the genre which more and more people are benefitting from. The share of international music is only increasing and the streaming services are a benefit to us. None threatens to cannibalise our viewers. It is our viewers eventually that are expanding the consumption of international music across platforms.”

With scope for more entrants in this space, Palia is optimistic about different players coming into the eco-system irrespective of the platform and only sees the sector growing in coming years.

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