Mumbai: Channel V will switch off all its music programmes in India beginning July and focus on fiction and non-fiction shows as it turns into a full-fledged youth entertainment channel.
Part of the Star India network now, Channel V was launched in the country 16 years ago primarily as a music channel.
Prem Kamath, executive vice-president and general manager at Channel V, said the change in strategy was triggered by the shift in how music is consumed in India.
“Increasingly, music is consumed less on television. It is heard on FM radio stations, portable devices and digital portals like YouTube, which have caused a dent in its television audience,” he said.
The channel took three years to revamp its programming, Kamath said.
Youngsters lisntening to music. Photo: Bloomberg
By the end of 2012, the channel will roll out six daily shows and two weekend shows.
Channel V is not the only music channel that has tweaked its programming in recent years. MTV, from the Viacom18 group, has over the past two years reduced its music content to about 65% of its entire programming.
“MTV has been constantly evolving and trying to increase its viewer base. Roadies (a reality show in its ninth season) is an example of this effort,” said Aditya Swamy, executive vice-president and general manager, MTV India. “As of now, roughly 20-25% of our channel’s content is acquired music, while the rest is original content we have created through shows like Sound Tripping, Coke Studio, Crunch and upcoming show Rush, among others,” said Swamy.
It’s easy to see why Star revamped Channel V.
The pure music channel genre has been stagnant in terms of viewership and advertising. A clutch of music channels (9xm, Masti, VH1, Sony Mix, etc.) put together have an estimated 3.2% share of the total television viewership in India, according to a report on the media industry by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and consulting firm KPMG.
The advertising pie for the music channels has been stuck at Rs 150-200 crore the past four years. Ad rates hover at a Rs 1,500-2,000 per 10 seconds for music programmes, while a popular show like Roadies commands Rs 10,000-12,000 per 10 seconds. “There is no novelty in music channels that will compel advertisers to invest,” said Mallikarjun Das, chief executive of Starcom MediaVest Group India, a media agency.
Channel V decided to make the switch when its experiment with non-music shows launched some months ago helped it get ahead of rival MTV in terms of gross rating points, a measure of viewership.
“The change in programming strategy has paid us rich dividends in viewership and, although significantly more expensive, this content strategy is distinctly more sustainable as well,” said Kamath.