RadioandMusic
| 12 Nov 2018
Neeraj Vyas: Sony Mix witnessed 30 per cent increase in ad rates in 2014

Dominating TRPs for more than a year, music channel Sony Mix, has clearly emerged a winner. According to business head, Neeraj Vyas it was all because the channel respected viewers and probably had more understanding of the business of music channels. With the reach of 55-58 million people per week, the channel has scripted history. In an interview with Radioandmusic.com's Dhairya Ingle, Vyas reveals their plans for the upcoming year, impact on ad rates and more.

Excerpts:

How was 2014 for the channel?

The year 2014 was a dream year for us as we witnessed humongous success, especially in a space where you have anything between 14-16 music channels playing the same kind of music at different parts of the day. To be a leading channel consistently for 52 weeks of the year in itself is an achievement. We were working towards the same, but to see it happen was a different feeling. The dream run for us continues as we are number one for the 58th week now. So 2014 has been a memorable year.

Tell us about your plans for 2015?

It is easy to get on top, but the tough part is staying there, so the challenge for us is to continue our dominance. This means we will have to innovate, strategise and do something new constantly, because we have set the standards. Also we need to look at the environment and reinvent ourselves. In terms of challenge, this year is going to be tougher essentially because we have tried certain things which have now been done by most channels. In a way it is a compliment for us, but now is the time to raise the bar.

Highlight factors that have been responsible for the growth of the channel?

It might sound pompous, but I feel the key reality for Mix has been that we probably understand music better than anyone else. Secondly, right from the day we launched we tried getting musicality back into the genre. Our primary aim was to be known as a channel that understands the content that goes on air and not randomly play music videos. Before we entered the business, most channels were operating like trade music channels that would play any music at anytime of the day. Commercial advertisements and trailers consumed most of the airtime. So what you got to see was seven to eight songs in an hour or even less. We initially tried to sanitise the system. We were the first channel to come up with a mood and tempo based dayparting of the playout. We were clear that we will not exceed the time limit for the ads. Also we decided not to play songs randomly just because there was a commitment made to labels. These initiatives helped establish us as a channel which respected viewers. Also we brought in more variety than anybody else. There was a time when most channels played only free music, but we gave the audience a variety.

Short formats of programs like ‘Music Room’ have been very popular. Are you planning to come up with more formats like these in this year?

We are working on a couple of them. But again with something that is not more than six to eight episodes. The shows will be in the Bollywood space. Also 'Mix Solos' and ‘Music Room’ will have a completely new avatar.

As per your recent interview, you have been a leader for 52 weeks, how will this affect ad rates this year?

We have had a great run as far as ad rates are concerned. Unfortunately this genre again has been historically undersold. However, that is set to change as we already had good growth of 30 per cent in ad rates in 2014. Even if we achieve 20 - 25 per cent growth in the ad rates this year, it will be a good achievement.

According to you, retro songs still hold a lot of relevance. Any programs to be introduced related specifically to retro?

Technically ‘Music Room’ was a tribute to the retro sound.  I believe retro melodies are so good that they hold an appeal even today. And they will always be an essential part of Sony Mix.

What kinds of genres of music do you plan to experiment with, if the need arises?

There is no chance that Bollywood music will die. I agree it is becoming more repetitive, but then it is a cycle that anything that is good gets clowned. From a music lover’s point of view, I would like to do something with the genre of ghazals. One would also look at probably dedicating a slot to Indian classical music.

Do you plan to strengthen your presence digitally in form of web-series and so on?

No. Nothing of that sort is happening.

Which markets do you plan to strengthen your hold in?

We are leading in most of the markets. But we could do well in Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal.  There is scope to do much more.