Vh1, the English entertainment channel from the Viacom18 stable recently turned 10. The channel was launched on January 1, 2005 to cater to the needs of English music audiences in the country when MTV turned all-Hindi in the country.
Ferzad Palia, EVP and business head, English Entertainment, Viacom18 recalls that the channel's launch was brought forward and he and his team just had 15 days in hand to launch the channel. "It was really tough but successful. The task at that time was to repopularise English music in the country."
The channel, today, boasts of around 20 per cent viewership share in the genre (English Entertainment), the ad revenue of which is pegged at around Rs 170 crore. Vh1 also had another challenge from the brand recognition point of view. The channel's logo read vhr (the number '1' was written as a mirror image). Palia shared that they had to do number of radio spots to tell people that the channel was called VH1.
It was only after 5-6 years of the channel's existence that the seeds of investement started to bear fruits. According to Palia, the two things that have helped Vh1 stand out were - differentiation and persistence. "Today, we are a profitable channel and are growing at a healthy pace."
Since its inception in 2005, Vh1 brought various international music genres including EDM, punk, rock, reggae, hip-hop, pop and jazz to Indian audiences. Today, Vh1 has expanded its repertoire to include shows such as Vh1 Playlist, Catfish, documentaries such as 'No Cameras Allowed' and 'The Class of '92', reality shows and much more.
The channel also annually airs international awards live on the channel such as the Grammys, Video Music Awards, Europe Music Awards, American Music Awards, World Music Awards, Golden Globe and Billboard. In 2014, Vh1 bagged the rights to exclusively air two immensely popular talent shows - Britain's Got Talent and X Factor.
In addition to the eclectic television content, Vh1 has also created its own on-ground property, Vh1 Supersonic, the biggest dance music festival in India and Vh1 Sound Nation, a multi-genre music extravaganza featuring home-grown, independent artistes.
Vh1's 10th anniversary celebrations commenced at the latest edition of Vh1 Supersonic on a Goa beach where over 15,000 fans sang 'Happy Birthday' to Vh1. It was followed by six mega-anniversary parties hosted on New Year's Eve by Vh1 across six cities in India; namely Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
To mark the occasion, the channel will be hosting a month long celebration for its viewers in January 2015 including special programming with the best of Vh1's songs and shows.