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Features |  10 Aug 2013 15:04 |  By RnMTeam

MTV will take a significant step in EDM space: VP, MTV India

Chandrashekhar aka Chandru has led MTV India's foray into original music production and syndication. Being at the helm of strategy creation and execution for all of MTV's music initiatives since 2010, he brought international format like MTV Video Music Awards India (VMAI) and customised it for Indian audiences to give them a unique identity. He leads the commercial and programming strategy function across all content genres for the channel. Managing the music label, film studio relations, content acquisition, talent relations, content planning to play out on MTV, is a part of his daily duties.

Today, the youth urban India is more inclined towards digital and open air gigs, which has opened up avenues for Indian audiences to go beyond Bollywood music. Undoubtedly Bollywood in terms of listenership remains the loudest genre. However, this time is the perfect to create a platform for independent music which is what; MTV has been trying to do since past three to four years. We are creating original content which is also perpetuated by MTV. We give the identity to playback singers who otherwise just remain the voice of an actor or actress. We create a show not only to create traction on Television but also on our various digital platforms. Our aim is to go beyond television. We have by far been able to garner over 30, 000 million web views. All of the music whose IP’s we hold is available on various digital platforms, which adds value to our brand. We now bring the on-air shows on-ground. For instance, we have done 60 live gigs in the last couple of years. There was an urgent need for shifting our focus from Bollywood music.

Shows like MTV coke studio and MTV Unplugged, have been a steep learning curve. There are many television music shows that exist on the television but our music based shows is all about creating a mix of music that will go on many music hearing devices. For our shows, the quality of our sound mixes ought to be as good as the film studio mix. In Indian there was no one who could deliver good mix of sounds which was touted to be our biggest challenge. Learning from our earlier experience, we   got sound engineer Steve Fitzmaurice from UK for the second edition of Coke studio  for setting the recording facility.   The other challenge  was that the show cannot be shot in a span of  three to four hours  like other shows  which that you need to curate and confirm artistes six to eight months  prior to the show  going on air. We planned mock shoots and rehearsals three  prior to the shoots. This changed the whole dynamics of creating a music show.

We have also done the  first music award show of India i.e. Video Music Awards (VMA).. This is where our international team chipped in sharing their production Bible with us. For example, we got the best of graphics from UK’s, ‘Hello Charlie’. We also got helped by the team in USA for this ambitious project. For any content we evaluate the power,  viability and viewership which would garner revenues for us. There was no resistance about the show but it was a more of proving ourselves. We had to get more traction.

In terms of viewership, Coke studio and MTV Unplugged have been doing well. There has been a lot of  social media and word of mouth publicity that happened for the show. It got us a good buzz around our brand and we got  an amazing response from sponsors. Today,  there are many brands that cater to the youth of India,  and are opening up to partner with brands like us to make their presence felt in the market. MTV has a good set of advertisers on board like Coca Cola, Royal Stag, Micromax, Intel and HTC. In terms of revenue, we have been able to make it very profitable. We have been able to create a positive eco-system of syndication of content. Coke Studio at MTV gets retailed through Sony music. These are the additional revenue stream that we build around our music content. We were never questioned or pressurised by the head office, but they expected us to understand the Indian market.

We received a positive response from the sponsors after Coke Studio and MTV Unplugged, With the awards, we were trying to replicate a very huge franchise and we had to meet the standards of UK and US, where these awards were conducted for a couple of decades. The artistes’ line-up was carefully chosen. We had AR Rahaman, Honey Singh, Vishal Dadlani and many other artistes. From Bollywood, we had Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma.

The  expectation was to match the international standard in terms  getting the biggest music talents of the country. No stone was left unturned by us so that it would look close to the international standard. This was something was extremely challenging for us. We are the youth-based channel. If the youth today wishes to watch reality show, friction or music then we obviously have to cater to  them. We must have a healthy  content which is preferred by the youth. Our benchmark is to see if we can transcend beyond the television screen. Secondly, it should be multi-dimensional. These are the key elements that we have in mind. We continue to do a mix of everything as music has been instrumental.

I have observed that MTV has always led the change. For instance, we were the first one to launch the reality show with Roadies. The competitors followed that trend and we being able to bring in the second revolution by showing the broadcaster that there is market for music-based show. There is a market for music shows as well. We continue doing what we are good at.

The biggest challenge with music shows is to get content that works across platform and get the audiences viewing our content on Youtube and other social networking sites Which would create a buzz about us. This would even attract sponsors.

Today, we are talking to big names in the film music world like AR Rahman, Salim Suliaman, Amit Trivedi, Ram Sampath or any one in the independent music like Kailash Kher, Indus Creed and Papon. We feature all kind of artistes- budding, experienced, famous or not so famous. Our biggest strength is artistes’ relationship. We are in a very good place as we are the source of music. Music is a growing market. According to FICCI report, entire music market is valued at about Rs 20 billion. Obviously, lot of market is getting consumed digitally compared to physical market. We are bullish here as we create very good digital traction. The whole independent genre of music is growing like EDM.

The market is projected to grow 15 per cent year on year. We are already a dominant player when it comes to content creation and artistes relations in the market. So, we will continue with our music leadership in times to come. The biggest challenge with digital market is that we can’t really talk how we will grow. We cannot calculate our growth in percentages when it comes to the digital format since its disproportionate. We  clearly want  we want to be number one when it comes to any kind of music content on digital.

Advertisers are aware that MTV is giving them a multi-dimensional presence. Content will get syndicated across platform. We will be working more on the independent music market. EDM music is small genre and we have take baby steps through MTV bloc party but you will see us take significant step in that space. Fusion music will continue in MTV.