It is an open secret that MTV Networks India is toying with the idea of launching VH1, a 24-hour music channel targeted at 25-to-44-year-olds. The Viacom-controlled media house describes the channel as a mature sibling of MTV, reaching over 95.5-million households overseas.
What is, however, unclear is the precise date of its launch.
Industry sources indicate that the channel could be launched in about a month's time. Interestingly, the company has kicked off the recruitment process for the channel even as the last-minute nitty-gritty is being worked out.
This attention to detail on the part of MTV is not without reason. VH1 will address the mature music lover or "MTV graduate", whose needs remain largely unfulfilled on account of sister MTV's focus on younger audiences.
MTV in India is aimed primarily at individuals in the 15-34 age-group, has an irreverent attitude typical of the audience it addresses and has embraced Bollywood in a big way. Though international music plays during the late evening hours and over weekends, the channel is essentially a destination for Hindi film music, Indipop videos, VJ-led shows, style, humour and loads of fun.
VH1, in contrast, would target those segments unaddressed by MTV - viewers who crave for international music or retro numbers, and above all, prefer an "evolved approach" to music. The aim clearly is to be an effective complement to MTV and leave no gap for rivals to step in and hold sway.
Internationally, MTV Networks has used this multiple-niche approach effectively, and has close to 100 channels spanning music (MTV, VHI), kids (Nickelodeon), comedy (Comedy Central, Paramount Comedy Channel) and general entertainment.
MTV and VH1 alone have sub-brands such as MTV2, VH1 Classic, VH1 Country, and, it is obvious, the company is looking to replicate the model in India as well.
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