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Hiking ad rates a tough task for music channels

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MUMBAI: MTV India has decided to hike its ad rates even as it has readied international format show launches, something the youth-music genre has found it difficult to enforce in a cluttered environment.

The change in positioning of music channels has followed a market logic - that non-music content can command higher ad rates. Channel [V] had launched some big-ticket shows in the past for the same reason and has recently started airing a fiction show. UTV Bindass also has a mix of non-fiction and fiction shows where they claim to charge a premium.

While the youth-music channels do have shows where they can ask for a premium, making them profitable has not been easy as content costs are higher.

Can pure play music channels up ad rates?

Says 9X Media EVP network sales Pawan Jailkhani, “9XM time and again has got rate hikes from the market because the channel is most stable and dependable in terms of deliveries and it is one of the most cost efficient and relevant channels in the client’s plan.”

So does the industry, which is marred with high competition, similar or no exclusive content, and high cost of non-fiction, have to increase its ad rates to survive? Media executives believe that they have to. Jailkhani says, “The music genre has to have rate hikes as it is still undervalued in terms of rates vis-?-vis deliveries.”

But some media pundits feel players need to understand that there has to be consistency in their performance.

A media buyer said it will be hard for youth and music channels to ask for higher rates. “Advertisers have already put in money on Cricket World Cup and now IPL. They may not be interested on spending more money on these channels this year.”

The existing players can be broadly categorised under three categories. The youth channels consist of MTV, Channel [V] and UTV Bindass; the pure play music channels are 9XM, Mastiii, Music India, B4U Music and Zing; and the Bollywood entertainment/trade channels include Zoom, ETC, E24 and Big Magic (earlier known as Imagine Showbiz).

So will MTV‘s decision lead to an ad rate hike in the youth channel category? Channel [V] has no such plans. EVP and GM Prem Kamath believes that whenever advertisers see value in the offering, they do pay premium. “Advertisers look for fair value," he says.

UTV Software Communications‘ Bindass did not want to participate in this story.

For the pure play music channels, the game will get tougher.

How will players like Zing and ETC be impacted? Says Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel) chief revenue officer and head, niche channels Joy Chakraborthy, “Increasing the ad rates is a continuous process. In the new fiscal, we are signing deals on incremental price.”

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