“No Marathi movie releases without a Jhakaas promotion”: Rohan Rane

MUMBAI: Regional music, though entertaining, has never got its due, thanks to Bollywood music which has been giving the youth its daily dose of entertainment.

However, things changed in 2011 for the Marathi music with the birth of 9X Jhakaas.

The channel launched by 9X Media targeted the confident and go-getter Marathi music lovers and the Maharashtrian youth across India by offering them a scrumptious treat of complete entertainment.

It airs the best Marathi film and non-film songs including Lavanis and other traditional forms. It also airs a series of rib-tickling short format animated shows which are extremely popular amongst the viewers and fans of the channel.

Content always requires experimentation and innovation, believes 9X Jhakaas VP Rohan Rane. On the occasion of third anniversary, according to Rane, the channel is in a happy mode but believes it has still a long way to go. The channel started off with 10 GRPs and now enjoys good amount of viewership between 18-19 GRPs.

However, the biggest challenge that the channel had to face was to get the youth on-board, since music is driven by them. “The first question when we started the channel was how to make it youth-centric. How to pull and drive them and thus we launched the channel with so many animated characters,” says Rane.

 “The growth comes a lot from the things that we do on the channel. In these three years, we have associated with the entire Marathi industry,” adds Rane.

He goes on to say that initially what the industry lacked was movie promotions and Jhakaas gave them the opportunity to promote their movies. Rane feels that the entire industry has gone into boom. “There are good amount of profits that the movies have started making. The achievement of Jhakaas has also been to help the movies get business.”

The channel has its core audience between the age group of 15-24. But Rane reveals that it is more of a women skewed channel as per the data.

Moreover, to engage with the audiences, for the past three years the channel organises a three-hour long festival, Bhim, in Kohlapur every January. The channel actually designs the entire festival which is a full extravaganza of singing, dancing performances and sees the who’s who of Marathi entertainment industry.

According to Rane, the high point for the channel is the support it gets from the industry and the audience. “Each and every celeb is following Jhakaas twitter handle and almost all our tweets get re-tweeted by them,” says Rane. Moreover, he highlights that being a music channel how can one miss profiling singers. Thus, the channel has profiled top most singers for better eyeballs.

Talking about the low points, he wishes the success rate to be higher in terms of the money made by the music channels during movie promotions. It will show the health of the regional space. “Because these are low investment movies, but get high returns. And Jhakaas being the part of it, pushing and getting the audience to be a part of it so that the people are drawn is our main intent.”

As the channel completes three years on 31 October, it has created an off-beat Jhakaas song by collaborating with top names like Avdooth Gupte, Vaishali Samant, Jasraj Joshi, Priyanka Bave and Kirti Killedar.

The video features Manasi Naik, Pooja Sawant, Neha Joshi, Adinath Kothare and directed by Saagrarika Das. The song will be on-air and online from 31 October and will run for almost a month.

Talking about the advertisers, Rane reveals that over the period of three years, it has attracted new clients like HUL’s Lux on-board.

The first learning for the channel was that in order to cater to the youth, it had to incorporate youth-centric programmes. Secondly, the youth wants to know the song immediately when it is released. “If you show them the latest song, the stickiness has seen a significant amount of growth. Plus they like romantic numbers too.”

Thus, it has an entire time band - Tu Ani Mi, where romantic songs are played between 12 - 4 pm.

There is a content specifically programmed for the youth on the channel as well on the digital platforms. “Digital platforms also help us to get youth attracted to the Marathi cinema,” states Rane. “No Marathi movie releases without a Jhakaas leg/promotion to it.”

He cites an example of a Marathi movie, Ishq Wali Love Story. Apart from having a plan on Jhakaas, it had also partnered with them for on-ground events where it had designed an on-ground campaign starting from Mumbai followed by Kolhapur and Pune. “The point being that every movie which we feel will do well it gets support from the channel.”

“These numbers were never seen before. Over the weekend it has crossed Rs 3 crore at the box office.”

The channel enjoys good amount of attention on the digital platforms like Facebook where it has more than 5 lakh likes to it. Says 9X Media SVP – digital Vibha Gosher: “9X Jhakaas community is emerging to be our most engaging regional user base. Both on Facebook and Twitter, the 9X Jhakaas users are extremely passionate about the entertainment content and engage actively across our initiatives.”

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