Zoom-ing in on the music aficionados

MUMBAI: Zoom aims at providing special type of content in the Bollywood space which is not happening on any other channel. Apart from branded content, music is the mainstay of this category. Distinguishing its position from the rest through differentiated Bollywood content available on the channel apart from being high on music is Zoom, the Bollywood and lifestyle channel from the Times Network.

With a huge presence of its content on digital, the channel is clear on music being their forte. The channel is in a win-win situation as it witnesses a huge demand from the audience for Bollywood as well as music content.

Apart from riding high on its content, the channel is also planning to launch an app for its audience. The channel has also brought the third season of Thank God It’s Fryday (TGIF) in partnership with Philips.

“Though we have branded content, music is still the bread and butter of this category. Given the fact that 90 per cent of our content is completely music, we will not compromise on it,” says Times Network president (revenue) Ashit Kukian.

The channel also plans to launch a couple of shows within 10 days. While, some of the shows will be new, others will be existing shows that worked well and were loved by the audience. The shows will be in line with the Bollywood and lifestyle theme.

Since the time of its inception, the channel has seen a positive growth both, in terms of advertising revenue and viewership. “Every brand under the Times Network is trying to evolve with the changing needs of the consumer. The viewer's needs change from what it was a few years ago. We are evolving both as a network and a channel,” says

Targeted at a well-defined audience from whoever is interested in music, 15-35 remains to be the channel’s core audience. With a strong Hindi and English song library, the channel sees more traction coming from the west and north of India.

“As any other product, you will have age cohorts reflecting from either side of the defined category as well. If a channel plays more retro, than you can have a larger,higher age-bracket viewers. As we have more Hindi and English type of content, you will have people from the west or north dominating and consuming more,” explains the revenue

With several branded shows, it sees a mix of advertising categories which cuts across age-groups, demographic and psychographic lifestyles. It has a lavish portfolio of advertisers from across categories like FMCG, e-commerce, auto, etc. “FMCG by and large uses a lot of music as a category”, comments Kukian.

It intends to penetrate deeper as they believe that there is much more to do, especially when the entire music space is getting cluttered.

"We are looking at larger share of value. In that sense, our current pricing is well in tune with what we deliver to the audience. As we peak up and our numbers increase, currency correction will happen from time to time. We do not have the understanding that now if it is six months old, we have to increase the rate. We believe that if we are delivering higher value to our advertisers, we will increase the rate which is acceptable to the advertisers," adds Kukian.

Kukian believes that with a portfolio of 10 to 12 channels the volumes in the music space are fragmented. "if you go by the clear division, anything which is about 8-10 per cent of the share is good and we are well above that".

With Sony Pictures Networks' Sony Mix, 9XM, 9X Jalwa, ETC, Star India's Channel V which recently got converted into a music-only channel, Viacom18's VH1, MTV and the newest addition of Hindi music channel MTV Beats, the music genre is only getting more aggressive. But, the presence of these channels does not hamper the growth of Zoom. The channel does not see its relevance decreasing. "Whether they can be called as competitors, the answer is a yes and no. Yes, because we are operating in the same category, and no because I don't think anyone else is giving that type of content. The entire music category is under stress from an overall perspective. But, within the category, each of us are being able to do the best we can,” he adds further.

Even the availability of various online streaming services are not a threat for the clearly mapped action plan of Zoom. With the booming number of web series available on the internet today, Kulian believes that the content that is available through the existing terrestrial TV has a huge demand due to some reason, and will continue to be there.

“Online streaming services will co-exist because the terrestrial TV follows a model and has its own reason due to which it has prevailed so far. Whether there will be a change of behaviour happening between people completely moving to streaming, I don't think so. Music channels are distinctively going to be there in the next four to five years,” says Kukian.

“Digital penetration is limited in India and the fact that we have come into using 3G or 4G, streaming is still a challenge from a consumer’s viewing experience," he added.

With the cost of content rising from what it was three years ago, the channel is keen on holding special events like music concerts, gigs, etc.

"If there is a viewer-led on-ground event, we will be happy to do that. Right now, we do one or two small things but I would want to be a part of bigger events and we are working on that," adds Kukian.

Having sold as an independent channel due to its offering, the channel does not see distribution as a hurdle as it is available across all major MSOs and DTH platforms.

Kukian says, "Zoom is sold as an independent channel. If there are advertisers who want to bundle it with them, we do cooperate."

With the advancement in technology and the improvement of infrastructure in our country, many broadcasting networks have either launched HD feed of their existing SD channels or have launched a HD channel directly. But, Zoom definitely does not see itself in that zone. "At this point in time, I don’t think an HD feed is necessary because for us the product itself is the differentiator and consumer experience is the next level," says Kukian.

Coming from a rich heritage as a brand and banking on differentiated content as its USP, the channel envisions to be amongst the top 2-3 brands just like the other channels under the Times umbrella which operate in various categories.

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