The channel which started with just 40 music videos in three cities is, today, synonymous with the best in international music and entertainment, and home to some of the greatest award shows in the world
Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | January 13, 2015
On January 1, 2015, Vh1 completed 10 years in the English music entertainment genre. The channel which started with just 40 music videos in three cities is, today, synonymous with the best in international music and entertainment, and home to some of the greatest award shows in the world.
Reminiscing the journey, Ferzad Palia, EVP & Business Head, English Entertainment, Viacom 18, said, “It was not an easy ride and the first five years were very tough for us. We launched the channel mainly to re-popularise English music, and, at that time, there was a big lacuna in this category. We realised that we had to take care of an audience who have grown up listening to popular English music. So, the first few years went in getting many things right and we realised that we need to do different things for various sets of audiences.”
“The challenges were plenty. Initially, consumers misread the channel logo as Vhr or VHI and ‘Which one’. We had to do a lot to correct this. We decided to use radio to popularise the channel and also use still media like print to clear the confusion. Then, we checked on our distribution, and also realised the importance of live events, award shows and started connecting with the masses. Gradually, we started improving our content by acquiring music blocks and long format shows,” added Palia.
According to him, other than Mumbai and Bengaluru, Delhi has picked up in the consumption of the channel in the last few years. It took the channel more than eight years to break even, but it was also not running in loss. “We took time to explain to people that we might be niche in perception, but we are delivering something. From doing indoor gigs to now having 15,000 fans singing ‘Happy Birthday Vh1’ on the sands of Goa during the recent Vh1 Supersonic 2014, it’s been an exciting and fulfilling journey. I genuinely want to thank each and every one who has participated in this fantastic journey, directly or just as a well-wisher. It is indeed a very proud moment for team Vh1,” he remarked.
Today, Vh1 has expanded its repertoire of shows to include shows such as ‘Vh1 Playlist’, ‘Catfish’, documentaries such as ‘No Cameras Allowed’ and ‘The Class of ‘92’, reality shows and much more. The channel also annually airs world’s most popular international awards live on the channel. Awards such as the Grammys, Video Music Awards, Europe Music Awards, American Music Awards, World Music Awards, Golden Globe and Billboard are viewed by the Indian audience at real time on Vh1. In 2014, Vh1 bagged the rights to exclusively air two immensely popular talent shows – ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and ‘X Factor’. In addition to the eclectic television content, it has also created its own on-ground property, Vh1 Supersonic, the biggest dance music festival in India and Vh1 Sound Nation, a multi-genre music extravaganza featuring home-grown, independent artistes.