Prachi Srivastava

Music & youth channels: Reaping revenue options

There are multiple options for the music and youth entertainment genre to cash on, including brand integrations, AFPs, sponsorship deals, web monetisation and trailers.

Due to the nature of their audience, music and youth entertainment channels have grown to become one of the most dynamic media platforms on television. With content ranging from foot-tapping music to drama and reality shows, they have it all!

There are four different categories of channels in the music and youth entertainment genre - Pureplay music (9XM, Mtunes, Sony Mix, Mastii, B4U), youth entertainment (MTV, Channel [V], Bindass), Bollywood entertainment (Zoom, UTV Stars,E24) and trade (ETC, Music Express, Zing, Music India) and they are all competing to grab more or less the same eyeballs, or rather ears!

Music & youth channels: Reaping revenue options
Music & youth channels: Reaping revenue options
Music & youth channels: Reaping revenue options
Music & youth channels: Reaping revenue options
Music & youth channels: Reaping revenue options
With GenerationY as the core target audience, the genre opens a whole new front for the marketing world. While the majority of the revenue still comes from free commercial time (FCT), the genre has varied advertisement options and the channels have experimented different possibilities to integrate the brands and fill their pockets.

The estimation is that the genre earns almost 65-75 per cent of its revenues from FCTs, while different kinds of brand-related activities on the digital medium help them make the rest of the money.

Brand integration is one of the best methods of raking in money. Channels across genres carry out different variations of brand integration of content. It's better for the brands as well as they get a captured audience without the bother of numerous commercial breaks.

9XM does a lot of brand integration with its animated characters, Bade-Chhote and Bheegi Billi. The channel has earlier done episodes on Idea's Hunny Bunny jingle and Tata Photon data cards with Bheegi Billi. On the regional channels of the portfolio, 9X Tashan created an integrated episode of its favourite animated character, 'Bhabhi', with brand Kurkure.

Channel [V] did a slot brand association wherein it partnered with ITC's new range of deodorants - Engage and V became Engage TV for a 2.5 hour programming slot, giving complete ownership to the brand for the entire duration.

The channels also do integration deals with brands that will give the latter presence both in the on-air and off-air activities. Channel [V] carried out branding of Canteen for a period of one month for Appy Fizz with The Buddy Project, where it placed Appy Fizz in the canteen to establish it as a preferred brand amongst the youth. It also had posters, standees, branded menu cards, table mats and wallpapers in the canteen, products in the canteens as well as consumption shots. There was active integration where it showed characters playing a game called 'Fizz pong', which was part of the brand's on-ground campaign.

Aston bands (like Mtunes does for Kalyan Jewellers, Lotus Herbals) is another attempt to give screen presence to brands. Additionally, there are creative break bumpers, and banners on the screen for which the ad deals are done.

For these channels, a chunk of their revenue also comes from the aired trailers. While trade channels rely heavily on them as it's their bread and butter, pure play music channels, youth entertainment and Bollywood entertainment channels also get a portion of their ad revenue from the trailer telecasts.

Advertiser funded programmes (AFPs) are another source of income for the genre. While pure play music channels don't have an option of doing AFPs, channels like MTV, Bindass and Channel [V] have done it. While it's a great proposition in terms of the production cost being borne by the client, experts in the industry believe that there have not been many successful AFPs as one needs a really strong concept that can be sold to a brand to be woven around it.

MTV has done AFPs like Hero Honda Roadies and Coke Studio (which is an international AFP). Channel [V] has also tried its hands on advertiser funded initiatives which are again paid ones. The STAR India channel did a Tata Nano Student of the Year contest wherein the contest winner, the smartest kid, was crowned as the 'Student of the Year'. Bindass has also done a show called 'Dell Inspiron Road Diaries' wherein the participants got a chance to take part in a journey where they could do all those things they always wanted to do on a road trip. Zoom had also aired an AFP funded by Tresemme and titled 'A Cut Above', as was UTV Star's Lux the Chosen One.

Sponsorships deals have always been a feasible option to monetise, in which the channel ropes in a title sponsor for its original content. Majority of the shows tie-up with brands for sponsorship deals. Bindass' Emotional Atyachar partnered with Micromax as title sponsor, while Date Trap had Arise Mobiles as presenting sponsor; MTV's Splitsvilla got Vodafone as sponsor. Channels like UTV Stars and Zoom also get sponsors for their shows like UTV Stars has Parachute as title sponsor for its show, 'Stars In your city.'

Zoom and Bindass also have slot sales (teleshopping ads) that help them make more money.

With the increasing penetration of internet in the country, many channels in this genre have not only started creating special content for the web but have also started monetising on the same. While Bindass has a special web show called 'Mentals' and has run Axe Chickipedia in the past, channels like MTV had shows like Tato Nano Drive with MTV and Vogue Eyewear Style in 60 for the digital space.

Mtunes too has experimented and created content like Moriginals and On the Street and monetised on the digital space through these shows.

The channels of this genre also have websites that have banner ads where they provide the television or original, web-dedicated content. The industry executives believe that they use the digital medium more as an engagement medium and want to interact with their audiences because it doesn't get them substantial revenue. MTV also airs the uncensored videos of its roadies audition on the web. Most channels have been able to monetise through YouTube videos as they have ads during the start of the video, the end or in the middle, wherein they pause the content and air ads before resuming the content.

Mastii has also created content like skits with comedians Suresh Menon and Raju Srivastava and because it has copyrights on the content, it monetises the same through television, web and mobile.

With additional inputs from Pawan Jailkhani, chief revenue officer of 9X Media, Divya Radhakrishnan, CEO of Helios Media and Prem Kamath, executive vice-president, general manager, Channel V and STAR Pravah and Markand Adhikari, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, SAB Group

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