Home / Industry / Channel V to switch back to music

New Delhi: Channel V has come full circle. From a popular music channel, to a youth-oriented entertainment channel, and now, back to a music channel for youth. All in 20 years’ time.

The channel, now part of the Star India network, on Wednesday said it will switch off all its fiction and non-fiction shows in India beginning July and focus on music programmes as it shifts focus back to its core competence.

According to a Star India spokesperson, music consumption represents an opportunity and Star India intends to “make a play" in this genre. “Channel V will be revamped as a youth-focused music brand effective July 1," the spokesperson said.

Channel V was launched in India in 1996 primarily as a music channel.

Current shows on Channel V including Mastaangi (about a couple whose love story comes to a tragic end with both of them having untimely deaths) will continue till the end of June, after which the channel will transition to the revamped identity and programming, added the company.

Star India did not share further details about this revamp.

Almost four years ago, the channel had taken a decision to revamp its programming towards youth entertainment shows to tackle the shift in music consumption in India.

“Music has been and will continue to be the voice of the youth. It is a integral part of our pop culture. Channel V is a strong brand and it’s great to see them go back to their roots and play a a role in the music ecosystem," said Aditya Swamy, former head of youth channel MTV operated by the Viacom18 network in India. Swamy left MTV in October last year to join e-commerce firm Flipkart as senior director.

The big opportunity is for them to look at this as an integrated multi-genre music service rather than as a Bollywood music channel, he added. “The opportunity is TV, digital and events... There is a big synergy with Hotstar... And the content is much more than Bollywood. Regional music, especially Punjabi, indie and international are all growing and feature on every millennial’s playlist. If they can bring all of this together seamlessly, backed by the distribution and marketing strength of the Star network , this can resonate strongly with young India," Swamy said.

Swamy also added that pop music still gets discovered on television. “Hits still get made because of television," he said, because of its massive reach and its nature as a sampling platform.

But increasingly, music consumption in India and across the world has shifted to multiple screens. It is heard on FM radio stations, portable devices, music apps like Gaana and Saavn and digital portals like YouTube, which have caused a dent in its television audience.

The music industry continued its shift to digital consumption in 2015 according to a report by consulting firm KPMG and lobby group Ficci (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) titled ‘The Future: now streaming’. The market size of the music industry stood at 10.8 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow to 20.8 billion by 2020. Digital music now generates 55% of the overall revenue of the industry.

The Channel V revamp could work if the programming focuses on audiences that are not just urban, said Mallikarjun Das, chief executive at media buying agency Starcom MediaVest. “Rural is a big opportunity because there are very limited music options available on free-to-air channels. 50% of television sets are in rural India."

Das added that it’s a good move by the company as it indicates “an attempt to broadbase themselves and reach a wider audience."

“These are challenging times for the music and youth genre because digital is gaining control, especially in urban markets for their target audience between 15-24." he added.

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