June 2010
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TV broadcasters eye music channels

Multi Screen Media, which operates general entertainment channel Sony, is planning a Hindi music channel.

Mumbai: Music channels are back on the agenda for leading television broadcasters, which are planning to start them in Hindi and regional languages.

Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSM), which operates general entertainment channel Sony, is planning a Hindi music channel, according to a senior MSM executive who did not want to be identified as the new venture has not been formally announced.

Three senior executives at different advertising agencies said MSM had shared its music channel plan with them. The executives added that 9XM, the Hindi music channel promoted by venture capital firm New Silk Route Advisors Pvt. Ltd, was also gearing up to launch music channels in regional languages, including Bhojpuri and Bengali. The INX Media Pvt. Ltd spokesperson declined to comment on the company’s plans.

Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd, which already runs MTV and VH1, was also looking at starting a new music channel. The broadcaster did not want to be a part of the story, the firm spokesperson said.

Music channels are low-cost operations with the ability to attract advertising. Punitha Arumugam, chief executive, Madison Group, estimates music TV advertising to be Rs200-300 crore a year. Media industry experts say segment leaders make between Rs30 crore and Rs60 crore a year, with broadcasters tapping into the music promotion budgets of Rs2-3 crore a film for big Bollywood releases.

Navin Shah, founder of Entertainment Media Communications Solutions and former chief executive of Percept P9, the entertainment arm of Percept Ltd, said that typically, TV channels sign agreements with music labels for fixed or unlimited airings through the year.

“They spend Rs2.5-3 crore on acquisition of such content, while a single season of a celebrity-based show on a GEC (general entertainment channel) could cost around Rs20 crore and the television rights to a film could be Rs9-10 crore,” Shah said, explaining the programming cost advantage of a music channel.

Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer, MPG India, said music channels are usually profitable. “So while INX may have sold its general entertainment business to Zee, it retained its music channel 9XM. The incremental cost of running a music channel is much lower than running a GEC or a film channel where the costs incurred in commissioning expensive programmes or building a library of films are high,” Nayyar said.

The television viewership data on music channels collated by TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd (between 11 April and 15 May) shows MTV in the lead with a 16.1% share, followed by B4U Music with 15.1%, 9XM with 13%, Music India with 10.1% share, Channel V with 8.1% and VH1 with 1.0%.


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