'Differentiation' in the key signpost that every television channel in India is pursuing vehemently. However, when it comes to players belonging to the music television slice, the need to be different is much more.
Taking a cue from channels such as MTV and Channel [V], Mastiii, the music channel from the Sri Adhikari Brothers stable, has introduced non-music content to its programming line-up.
Keeping in line with the channel positioning, the new content will belong to the comedy genre, and will serve the 7.30 pm-8.30 pm band daily, on Mastii. Targeted at family viewership from Monday to Thursday, Mujhe Meri Family Se Bachao will be aired at 7:30 pm, while Gajab Family will be telecast at 8 pm. With this transition, the channel will also don the new tagline, 'Music Ke Saath Comedy ka Super dose'.
So, why the need to introduce fiction?
During its initial phase, Mastiii had established itself as the market leader as it went on to rule the music genre GRPs for approximately six consecutive weeks.
Interestingly, the channel was going ad free during that period, while various planners state that the win at that time primarily rode on the back of the huge distribution push that Mastiii received during the given period.
However, with time, the channel's stickiness with the audience began to diminish, and sustainability in the ratings block became an issue.
"Boredom is a consistent syndrome that plagues the music channel industry because of repetitive content. And since, Mastii did not have anything new to differentiate, its stickiness began to deplete," says a media observer.
Meanwhile, Shams Kabir, managing director and chief executive officer, Cutthru Integrated, notes that the chief barrier that the music television genre faces is fickle audiences. "And, as most of these channels belong to networks which have their holy cash cows in the general entertainment genre, there's a general lack of support. Other than that is the fact that there are far more avenues for access to music and videos as opposed to times gone by, when these channels were the sole conduit for music videos," says Kabir.
So, will Mastii be able to crack the nut with its new differentiated offering?
The answer depends on the quality of programming, its appeal with the audience, and market relevance, state industry experts.
"Over the years the major players in this genre have reduced their music content, while filling up the gap with more reality formats. However, when it comes to brand recall in this non-music quotient, it's only Roadies that has been able to make a dent in viewers' minds. As a result, the channel's stickiness is much higher. Thus, if Mastiii wants to craft out a higher brand recall value for itself, its new offering has to be as well-differentiated as a Roadies on MTV," says Prabhakar, head, CMS Media Lab.