Mumbai-based Entertainment Television Channel (etc), has inked a strategic deal with the R.P.Goenka-owned music company, Saregama India (known as Gramophone Co of India earlier). Under the agreement, Saregama HMV and etc will jointly present various albums. etc will provide the on air promotional platform for these albums, while Saregama HMV will provide content from its own repertoire, and also other marketing support. Though there will be a sharing of revenue, company officials declined to give the exact figures.
By the end of this calendar year Saregama HMV and etc will come out with four audio albums. The first album, due for release soon, is titled Kya Zamana Aa Gya Hai, and is a musical interpretation of jokes. Sung and composed by Vihan-Akask, the album includes works of poets like Shail Chaturvedi, Vinoo Mahendra and Vishal Chaturvedi. The other albums will comprise a compilation of Ghazals sung by popular singers of this genre, a collection of Raj Kapoor songs from various movies, and a collection of devotional songs.
The tie-up makes immense business sense for both the partners. Close to 85 per cent of the programming content on etc is music. The channel, beamed from the satellite Thaicom -3, is a free-to-air channel and has a reach of more then 25 million households. Promotions have proved a lucrative source of revenue for the channel, and tie-ups with music companies and film producers for exclusive rights to air songs before any other channel, has been part of the marketing strategy of etc.
The channel's network with Bollywood is one of its main strengths. The channel also has various contests on air that give winners a chance to meet with Bollywood stars. Analysts say that while HMV finds the etc platform a good way to advertise, increase the sale of its CDs and cassettes, on its part, etc is trying to leverage its image as a "family-centric" music channel and widen its viewership.
According to TAM, for the time period August 12 to August 18, in the combined all-India market for the F15 + (women in the age group of 15-plus) in SEC A and B households, in the morning slot, etc has a reach of 1.99 per cent. The channel also has a wide reach among children in weekend mornings, and all-week evening slots. For the same time period, according to TAM figures, among children below 14, etc had a reach of 0.27 per cent in the weekday slots, and 1.22 per cent in the weekend morning slots.
One major factor that works in favour of the channel, say analysts, is that with Bollywood-centric family-oriented music programming, the channel has grabbed a large chunk of the viewership in the "family" segment. Other front-running music channels like MTV and CHannel [V] are more youth centric. Programmes like MTV Grind, may not go down well with conservative Indian family viewers.
The deal is yet another indication of the extent to which music channels have become Bollywood-centric. Even MTV and CHannel [V], which came in with Westernised programming, had to refashion their fare for Indian audiences. Pradeep Dixit, CEO, etc Networks says, "The deal reaffirms the belief that etc's strong Bollywood focus is ideal to reach out to the music lovers of the country."
Ideal for Saregama HMV too, to showcase its huge collection of Indian music, cutting across time and genre.
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