For some time now, MTV Networks has been toying with the idea of a regional brand in South India.
Flagship MTV India is primarily programmed in Hindi, which means that South Indian audiences, who prefer music in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam, are not included in the channel's consideration set.
However, instead of launching a new brand, MTV Networks has opted to invest in Southern Spice Music (SS Music) to take its agenda forward.
The group, says B D Ramesh Babu, president, SS Music, is keen on acquiring a majority stake in the channel. But, at the same time, MTV wants a 80-90 per cent stake compared to the 51 per cent, proposed by SS Music.
There is also a difference of opinion over the valuation price, put forward by SS Music, which, sources say, has been pegged at about $7-8 million (or Rs 32-37 crore).
Ramesh Babu says that the New York office of MTV Networks may revert in the next fortnight with regard to its final decision.
The channel, he says, is looking at a jump of about 30-40 per cent in advertising revenues this year, which, incidentally, is its fourth year of operation.
Launched on April 14, 2001, the channel primarily acquired its revenues in the first year of operation with the telecast of online lotteries, while commercials contributed about 20 per cent to the kitty. The share of ad revenues subsequently went up to 50 per cent and 80 per cent in the following years, with lotteries completely phased out in the fourth year of operation.
Revenues, claim Ramesh Babu, have been steady at Rs 10-crore year-on-year, with a jump likely this year.
On the programming front, the channel will be launching three new shows by the second week of September including a programme on gaming called Game Station in the 4.00 pm slot, a countdown show titled High Five between 8-9 pm and a back-to-back music presentation called Big Hits, which will be telecast across three-four time bands in the day.
Two more shows Launchpad and a programme on style, which is yet unnamed, will go on air in October during evening prime time.
Overall ratings of the channel in South India are in the region of 0.8-0.9, with the top three shows being Hot, Hotter, Hottest, a half-hour presentation of sizzling numbers, telecast at 11.00 pm; Virtual Request, a show telecast between 6-6.45 pm that allows viewers to make requests through kiosks placed at select retail outlets and Connect, an interactive request show that allows viewers to communicate with the veejay via a video-conferencing facility.
Innovations, says Brian Peppin, head, production and programming, SS Music, is crucial to the channel's programming mix, and the team is on the lookout for unique concepts all the time. "Game Station, for instance, may seem a bit out of place on a music channel, but the fact remains that gaming is big with our TG - the 15-34 age-group. The show will be of a 15 minutes duration to begin with, which will subsequently go up to 30 minutes based on viewer feedback." © 2004 agencyfaqs!First Published : August 11, 2004