afaqs!

Bangla Music genre gets a new contender

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | February 19, 2014
Royal Raj Media, in partnership with Launch Pad, has launched a 24-hour music channel called 'Music F Fatafati'.

Snapshot for the promo film - Music F Fatafati

Music F Fatafati's animated characters

Vikas Varma

Probal Gaanguly

The 24-hour channel features the "latest" and the "best" in Bengali movie music. The channel is also packaged to look young and energetic with vibrant colours, something it claims viewers of the space have not seen before. It also features 3D animations with characters like Jagai, Madhai and Pappi Da.

Talking about the launch of Music F Fatafati, Siddharth Misra, MD, Royal Raj Media, says, "We are pleased to tie up with Launch Pad for the launch of Music F Fatafati and offer the latest in Bangla music to our audiences. In the short first week, the channel has caught the eye of the audiences. We are confident that Music F Fatafati will soon be the final word in Bangla music."

Speaking about the concept and creation of the channel, Vikas Varma, director, Launch Pad, says, "In the past five-six years, Bengali music and movies have achieved world class standards. I believe this channel will change the way viewers consume music. This is my gift to all the Bangla music lovers."

Adding about the significance of the name, Probal Gaanguly, director, Launch Pad tells afaqs! that 'Fatafati' is a catchy colloquial Bengali word that means 'great'. In that sense, the channel is offering great content, music and entertainment to its viewers. While Gaanguly believes that the channel will cut across audience segments, he adds that it will appeal more to the youth because it is offering music released in the past four-five years only.

For the music content, the channel has tied up with Eskay Movies to buy the rights of airing songs of its movies. Meanwhile, it has also signed deals with a few independent producers in Bengal.

Currently, the channel is available to cable TV subscribers only. "The channel in the launch phase is available in C&S homes. While we have covered more than 85 per cent houses in Kolkata, more than 60 per cent homes in the rest of Bengal are getting the channel. It's been a couple of weeks since the launch of the channel and we are getting enquiries from other operators too. Going forward, we will look at tying up with the DTH players as we are ready to offer content to Bengalis in other parts of the country," Gaanguly adds.

Music F Fatafati was launched on January 25; the TAM ratings of the initial few weeks are already out. Gaanguly tells afaqs! that the channel has done pretty well in terms of time spent. While the leading channel in the genre, Sangeet Bangla, fetched time spent of 30 minutes + during Music F Fatafati's launch week, the new entrant was not very far behind. The channel recorded time spent of 20 minutes in its first week of launch.

"Since it's a music channel and we have not advertised much, it will take some time to create awareness but the initial response of the launch has been very encouraging. We were next to the leading channel in terms of time spent in the first week itself," Gaanguly says. "The gross rating points, too, have gone up by 60 to 70 per cent from the first week's ratings."

Music F Fatafati has not been very aggressive on promotions, considering financial restrictions. The launch promo of the channel was run for three weeks in the Metro rail in Kolkata. The channel expects the EPG (electronic programme guide) to work well for it as Kolkata is digitised now. Besides, it has been generating buzz on the social media. It has around 2000 fans on Facebook as 900 people are talking about it. The channel has its own YouTube channel and airs music along with jokes and gags by the animated characters.

As of now, the channel's content comprises of around 85 per cent music; it also has animation clips and jokes. In the near future, the channel aims to launch newer formats in the genre. And, that will be the time when it will look at investing in above-the-line marketing initiatives. The channel has not got advertisers on board yet.

"We wanted to run a clean channel initially for the viewers to have a sense of the channel and enjoy it. We are in talks with advertisers but are not really in a hurry to get in lots of advertisers. We want to settle the channel for 4-6 weeks. What kind of ratings we deliver will help us get advertisers," Gaanguly adds.

While Gaanguly refused to comment on the overall investment being made in the channel, sources in the industry tell afaqs! that a regional music channel needs Rs 15-20 crore investment in the initial stage. Music F Fatafati is asking for Rs 500 - 1000 per 10 second slot. "We are targeting break-even in the next 12-18 months," Gaanguly says.

It is pertinent to note here that the Bengali music genre is valued at Rs 25-35 crore. The other major players in the market are Dhoom and Tara Muzic.

While Royal Raj (the investor in the project) has signed a three year deal with Launch Pad, the deal may be extended further, considering the performance of the channel. Launch Pad is responsible for conceptualisation, creation and management of the channel for the next three years.

Launch Pad works on a BoT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model in the broadcasting space. It is looking at launching many more regional music channels in the future. The company had launched Bhojpuri music channel 'Hummra M' last year as part of a similar deal.

Overall, the look and feel of Music F Fatafati is quite similar to 9XM in the Hindi-language market. Launched in 2007, 9XM airs latest Bollywood songs and also features animated characters like Bheegi Billi and Bade and Chhote. It is interesting to note here that the director of Launch Pad, Vikas Varma was involved in the launch phase of the music channel owned by 9X Media.

The group is also looking at major forays in entertainment. After launching Music F Fatafati, it plans to launch more channels, both in Bengali and other languages.

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