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Back to the roots: Channel V returns to music

Media experts say that the channel will play well with music content since it has a strong affinity amongst youth. But it is not yet clear whether it will go back to being a pure play music channel or will it be a mix of music+fiction

Raushni Bhagia | Mumbai | May 12, 2016

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In a press note issued last evening, Star India has announced the revamp of its youth general entertainment channel - Channel V - into a youth focused music brand, to be effective from July 1, 2016.

The channel’s twitter account too tweeted the revamp announcement giving rest to rumours about shutting down of the channel. Twitter was abuzz with #savechannelv and #thankyouchannelv, mentioning that the channel would soon go off air.

The channel not only discarded the rumours but also announced a revamp of the channel. A cryptic press statement lacking in details said: “Consumption of music represents an opportunity. Star India to make a play in the music genre with its iconic youth brand Channel V. Channel V will be revamped as a youth focused music brand effective July 1.”

The current shows will continue till end of June, after which the channel will transition to the revamped identity and programming, a Star India spokesperson said.

The channel had shed its music content completely in July 2012, donning the youth GEC hat for the first time. Later in November 2013, the channel revamped its look and feel, along with the channel logo. In content, the channel has tried and tested bi-weeklies, fiction and a lot of reality.

Earlier than that, the channel had a lot of fiction shows since 2009, along with about 3-4 hours of music content. It had initially started off with being a pure play music channel from the Star India stable.

While the channel will bring music content back, the balance between music and fiction/non-fiction programming is still not clear. So there is still the question whether the channel will completely go back to being a pure music channel.

Was the popularity of its successful shows not converting into viewership and hence advertisers? Or is it that there is a scope for ‘music+fiction’ programming in the genre? With close to 14 channels in the music genre, how much space will the revamped, youth-focused music channel be able to fetch?

Mixed Views

Industry experts gave a mixed reaction to yet another content experimentation of the channel. But the media planning community gave a thumbs-up to the move.

Anita Nayyar Anita Nayyar

Anita Nayyar, CEO India and South Asia, Havas Media, said, “I think the experiments will always go on to check what works and what does not. Yes, the channel had earlier converted from music to youth content. That was a move I liked as there isn’t much youth content - other than music - on TV, barring Bindaas and MTV. Even MTV experimented for a long time. It is the age of content and if their content is not working, then one would look at experimenting with newer ones. Music always works. I think even their shows were good. For such a genre, popularity is more important than viewership. However, if they are getting a music ‘plus’ fiction content line-up, it is a healthy mix and should resonate well.”

VIdhu-Sagar-200 Vidhu Sagar

Vidhu Sagar, Managing Partner, GTB (formerly Blue Hive), said, “The most fundamental thing is that something didn’t work and hence they want to change/revamp it. I mean, why will you fix it if it’s not broken? Secondly, everything is possible in this day and age. Initially, when they announced the youth GEC thing, eyebrows were raised, but they did well for themselves. Now again, questions will be asked. But we have to see where this spark is getting lit from, whether they have data to support the decision and all.”

As for the scope of another player in the music genre, Sagar said, “The question of scope is true for every populated genre. Nowadays, it is not really about ‘I am entering a genre which is not inhabited by anyone’ – it doesn’t hold true for anyone. Now, it is more about ‘I know it is not a virgin territory, not an unexplored area, but I will enter and differentiate.’”

He quoted the example of the English GEC genre, and how sparklingly different Comedy Central’s entry was.

As for whether or not the advertisers’ affinity is skewed towards music, Nayyar said that advertisers will go where the TG goes. “Youth have a higher affinity for music. If you see touch-points, music is a hit amongst the youth.”

Sagar however pointed out that no advertiser buys a single channel. “When advertisers decide to get into a category, they don’t buy just one channel, they always pick three to four of them. It’s about targeting a TG, that’s the first step to finalise a genre.”

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