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Coexistence of music channels and digital devices is shortlived: Neeraj Vyas

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MUMBAI: Digital platforms are threatening the very existence of music channels today. With rising cost of licencing music, the profitability of channels has drastically dropped.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, SAB & MAX cluster EVP and head Neeraj Vyas says that music channels carry more advertising than any other genre but the slots are sold at extremely low rates. “It’s a genre that doesn’t get its due from the advertising industry. We need to wake up quickly.”

Music channels are barely making money these days but he strongly believes they deserve more. “Given the kind of eyeballs we generate, we certainly deserve a bigger share from the advertising pie and that correction is something we as a genre and we as an industry need to come together and work on. That’s going to be critical for everyone’s survival going ahead,” he says.

Vyas went on to say that it may not be viable for music channels to sustain beyond a point with licensing prices going up every year and the only monetisation avenue will be through ad sales. He is aware that stickiness to television is limited today when it comes to music. New songs are repeatedly played after which they are downloaded from paid apps. “TV will help you discover the sound and fall in love with the song,” he says. Be he warns that the happy co-existence between music channels and digital devices is short-lived and three years later the scenario will change.

The music genre gained a bit from the advent of digitisation. “Three to four months ago, the genre was decaying at around 115 to 120 GRPs. There were 16-17 channels. Today it has grown to 150-155 with consistency,” he highlights.

As far as Sony Mix is concerned, the channel will always have the quotient of playing older songs since it gains audience attraction. The music in the late last century is what Vyas calls as ageless music which is also replicated in reality shows, parties and singing contests.

The channel was launched to end the dominance of advertisement and trailers on other music channels. Moreover, the few songs played by the networks were for free from the music labels for 15-20 days. “I think what we lack even now to some extent is the playout reality. So from then till now, we are clear that we will stay musical, add more eras and variety,” he adds.

Sony Mix’s day kicks off with slow music followed by the 90s era. Later in the day, it shows mellow and soft songs followed by new tracks up till 9 pm. The last 3 hours of the night is dedicated to retro music.

The network follows cross promotional activities under their cluster of 29-30 channels along with brand strategy and brand films in its space. When asked whether the BARC ratings are an accurate indicator of viewership, Vyas said that it has taken its time. “Various developments have kept on happening from individual to household data to universe expansion. It is definitely a lot more settled than what it was a few months back” he feels.

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