How MTV Beats is beating its way to the top

Under Ferzad Palia’s leadership, the youth channel is making great strides among the youth.

MUMBAI: What do you do when you turn four? In the television business, you celebrate big. And if you are a channel from the MTV stable, you can even choose to go wacky, quirky and fun – just like the audience you target. In the case of MTV Beats  it is choosing to go gibberish. As part of its #shandaarchaar campaign, it has introduced 31 unique gibberish puzzles based on movies, Bollywood stars, songs, singers etc which half-way through have attracted participation from 10 million viewers.

Additionally, MTV Beats partnered with The Belgian Waffle Co., and released a MTV Beats Shaandaar Chaar Combo special, which is available on their leading food delivery partners Zomato and Swiggy. It is sponsored by The Originally Fresh Brand, Celio and Roadmaster Cycles.

The channel has also launched a new show House Party With Dj Chetas that revolves around Bollywood remixes. The show brings in foot-tapping party music every Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm.

According to Viacom18 Voot select, youth, music, and English entertainment head Ferzad Palia the show is unique because it fulfills the need of youngsters who are still not completely open to partying at crowded clubs.

Palia further highlighted that in 2020  MTV Beats’ marketshare has grown to be 18 per cent in the overall music genre.

Said he: “With five original shows, MTV Beats lockdown programming has been the biggest gainer in viewership and engagement in the entire genre with cumulative reach of 111 million and 2.5 billion viewing mins. The channel’s content-around-music saw weekly viewership spike by 27 per cent. MTV Beats was the only channel in the genre to clock positive gains in the east (three per cent), west (one per cent), north (three per cent), and south (23 per cent) regions collectively. Most importantly, viewership growth was not skewed but equally distributed across markets, not even leaving behind the south region – an uncharacteristic phenomenon for Hindi music channels.”

MTV Beats has been transformed from being a music to now a complete youth channel. According to BARC India,  MTV beats is in the third position in (U+R market). B4U Music is on the top spot followed by Masti. B4U Music was the leading music television channel across India with over 117 million weekly viewers from 26 September to 2 October 2020. The other music channels on the list are 9XM and Bindass. MTV Beats play music for two to three hours a day, especially during the morning hours. The rest of the time is dedicated to content. That’s also the prime reason why the network launched MTV Beats three years ago.

Palia shared that the channel has seen more than a 50 per cent jump in ad inventory fills with advertiser categories spread across – e-Commerce, social networking apps, OTT services, consumer durables, apparel, food delivery services, and edutech clients.

He added that MTV Beats has been branching out to make mainstream music more inclusive, be it with a dedicated slot for Punjabi music – Punjabi Beats, a gender-atypical music album – MTV Beats Love Duet, and further encouraging its platform for independent artists with MTV Beats Discover.

Palia further mentioned, “We also tailor our content to best suit the needs of our viewers. Thus with shows like House Party with DJ Chetas (dance music), Love Beats with Darshan Raval (young love problems), Baba Ki Chowki with Dr Sanket Bhosle (quirky/ humorous) we cater to the various moods of the young audience and have thus been able to become an integral part of their daily lives. All these shows have helped us to garner major eyeballs."

Palia doesn’t look at other channels and the consumption of music videos on Youtube  as a challenge or a threat for him the ultimate winner is music. “Overall consumption has grown manifold and one medium is not cannibalizing the other. Consumption of music on TV has grown heavily over the last few years while music consumption on digital has also gone through the roof,” he clarified. “It’s fairly clear that the world is now consuming music at a pace and scale that they couldn’t earlier – largely on-the-go consumption. So all-in-all, music wins. Nobody loses. People also consume TV for different reasons, one of which is that it is curated which is a comfort for most consumers. Repeat consumption of a video or an audio stream then takes place across mediums. So each medium complements the other.”

For MTV Beats, the target group is specifically  15-30-year olds and it clocked up a  cumulative reach of 136 million with that audience in 2020. Palia pointed out that the channel is well placed in the FreeDish households with significant engagement growth garnered in these four years. He also shared that it  is still rural heavy with 55 per cent of its audience from that demographic. Tier 3 and  tier 4 semi-urban towns have also witnessed steady growth.

 MTV Beats as a brand has strived to scale-up its programming and generate good content by leveraging its brand value and artist relations. “Our shows happen purely basis the artists’ faith in the brand. Our strategy is to always take the viewing experience to the next level and further establish the brand as the strongest music contender in the market and truly become the go-to brand that is all for the artist's community and the industry,” Palia explained.

His  long-term plan is to build MTV Beats as the music currency in the country. He opined. “Not only are we planning on new seasons for existing shows, but MTV Beats is all geared up to create brand new shows in sync with themes like humor, artist interaction and everything music.”

That should be music for its viewers ears.

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