Channel V: Changed Priorityby Piroj Wadia May 14 2014, 4:20 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 32 secs
In the mid-1990s, India’s youth saw the launch of an indigenous music channel – Channel [V]. The slew of programming was urban-centric, with irreverent humour, a new speak like ‘Yo!’ and loads of music. For the first time, the Indian youth had a medium of entertainment of their own, but icons, other than film stars, who they could identify with, and emulate. The VJs Javed Jaffery, Ruby Bhatia and Luke Kenny were the homespun foils to the NRI VJs of the competition. The latter fact I discovered, when a random survey that TV & Video World conducted revealed that Ruby Bhatia and Javed Jaffery had a strong following. Channel [V] introduced quirky characters who with the VJs were the face of the channel — Quick Gun Murugun, Udham Singh, Aunty 202, etc. Channel [V] was serious about music and the desi music talent vied for a spot on the channel to promote their album.
From just music, the channel has now shifted its content priorities to becoming a youth specific general entertainment channel. The change of content reflects the attitude and mindset of the youth – they aren’t consumed with the passion for music only; the current youth brigade is sensitized to issues and their surroundings. Besides, there is now a plethora of music channels headed of course by VH-1 and Sony Mix, and FM stations. Channel V chose to drop music programming and changed course.
Lavanya Anand, Channel V’s Content Head answers a few queries.
Q. What’s the reason for Channel V’s changing its focus from music to general entertainment?
A. Since Channel V’s inception in India, there have been a lot of changes. While, we did start off as being an only-music channel, around 2009, we felt that the time had come for us to explore the possibility of creating our own original content. We started doing non- fiction shows like Dare to Date at that time. We started venturing into fiction with Roomies in July 2010. By July 2012, we completely stopped airing music on our channel and turned into a full fledged youth channel with fiction and non-fiction shows targeting the youth audience. The reason we made the shift was because we had sharpened our focus and were clearly looking at being India’s premier youth channel that creates content specifically for the youth.
Q. Who are the content providers?
A. Since November 2012, we have forayed into making limited episode series and that has opened up a lot of doors for us vis-à-vis content providers. While we work closely with a number of well established TV producers, like Balaji, Cinevistas, Beyond Dreams and Sunshine; we also are looking at producers who have a film and television background who can bring their expertise to our channel. While most film producers aren’t comfortable with a long running daily series, they don’t mind coming on board to produce limited episode series.
Q. Some shows are dramatized true stories. Which of them is a channel driver?
A. Gumrah and Heroes, are two of our shows that are based on true incidents. While both of them have done exceedingly well, it would be tough to pinpoint which is our channel driver. Heroes is a new show where we have focussed on those stories where people have fought back and survived sexual harassment. Gumrah, where we talk of teen crimes, has been our flagship show for the entire duration that it has been on air. It would be unfair to put one above the other. Suffice to say, we are very happy with the buzz both these shows have generated and we plan to do more shows like them.
Q. What viewership have these shows garnered.
A. With both Gumrah and Heroes, we have had the opportunity to tap into the Channel V loyalists, and new viewers. While Channel V loyalists watch most of our shows, we have a lot of viewers come in to watch Gumrah and Heroes specifically. These are the viewers who enjoy the crime genre and like these two shows because of that.