'Only music didn't make business sense for Channel V'

Last Updated: Sun, May 19, 2013 08:00 hrs

Mumbai, May 19 (IANS) From a pure music channel to a youth-oriented general entertainment channel -- the transition of Channel V, which now boasts of a mix of drama content and reality shows, was an important business decision, says its spokesperson.

"We wanted to move out of music as we realised that as a business, it was not making sense at all. The way people are consuming music has changed now. We thought there are multiple ways where we can connect to the youth and also grow our market share considerably," Prem Kamath, the channel's executive vice president and general manager, told IANS.

No wonder the channel is now replete with shows like "The Buddy Project", "Dil Dosti Dance", "Suvreen Guggal - Topper of The Year" and "Best Friends Forever", which offer light-hearted fictional content, surrounding teenage and youth issues. It is a departure from the music countdowns, and video jockey-led music shows that were a hit in the 1990s.

The transition was especially evident when Channel V saw a spurt in love, dating and friendship-based shows like "Dare 2 Date", "Axe Ur Ex", "Agent Love", "Love Net" and "Roomies".

"It has been a great journey which we started just two and a half years back. We decided to move out of music and focus on holistic youth entertainment and not only on music.

"We have been adding shows slot by slot, and leading the genre for more than 19 months," said Kamath, adding how the changes have helped the channel grow in market share as well as revenue.

Recently, the channel's shows "Gumrah" and "The Buddy Project" won the best non-fiction and the best fiction show, respectively, at the Indian Television Academy (ITA)awards.

The aim, Kamath says, was always to create something never been created before, and that, which appeals to a larger youth audience. Moreover, the team was ready to experiment, not fearing failure.

"Historically, the content which youth channels have been doing - whether it is an MTV or a Bindaas or what Channel V used to do, was niche content. So that is why those channels at that point of time and even now have remained small.

"Our entire aim was to create programmes which appeal to a much larger youth audience," he said.

Hence, he says Channel V buys fiction shows at the same price as any mainstream general entertainment channel. In such a scenario, "monetisation" was a big doubt for the channel's heads when they set out to experiment.

"What we were keen on was a monetisation model. Thankfully, it has worked out extremely well. We have had terrific support from our advertisers and over the last three years, our revenue has grown five times," he said.

The success of their formula has also turned out to be a trendsetter. It is as predicted, says Kamath, who admits a lot of research about the audience and viewership trends went behind in carving the channel as it is today.

"We knew that people would imitate it. That cannot be helped in this market. When one kind of content does well, a lot of people start doing it. The only way to tackle that is to stay ahead of the curve at every point of time," he said.

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