| 28 May 2024
Pioneer Channel Factory contemplating on working on English music content

For last three decades, Yogesh Radhakrishnan has been in the cable business, and for 19 years he has been associated with launching various television music and movie channels in India. For Radhakrishnan, who is the director of Pioneer Channel Factory, there are some standards that he maintains for every channel he has been associated with, which he speaks about in a conversation with

He also hints at his inclination towards English music content, even though Pioneer Channel Factory currently has in its portfolio Bollywood channels- M Tunes HD and Music Xpress.

Being in the music space, especially in the broadcasting side of business, how have you seen it evolve?

From 1994, I have seen music channels grow, since ETC was launched. I have seen it evolve and change in an interesting way. Today, we have more than 14-15 music channels. Each of these channels has its own USP, strength, and viewership. I am hopeful that music channels will continue to grow further in the coming years.

How does it feel being part of the era in which the music industry is doing well?

Music is growing and hopefully, it will continue to grow on the linear side. On the digital side, things are changing and broadcasters understand the need to be present digitally, so that we move along with our audiences. We are covering both digital and linear viewers, which is helping us reach out to audiences across the globe.

Where do you think the music industry will stand in the next few years?

Today, music channels have been classified into various categories. There is a set of channels that are doing Bollywood music and then there is Bollywood news along with music. Then there are channels that have reality shows run alongside their music programming. Music channels are migrating from the music scene to reality shows completely.

There are very few pure music channels, and in that category we are the first HD music channel. We are right up among audiences who want to enjoy music in HD quality and Dolby sound. The truth is that there is no other competitor in our territory because we provide our listeners with high quality sound and video.

The music category is somewhere between Rs 700-900 crore as of now. This will grow with the new measurement system with BARC coming in. I hope that the total reach of the music channels will go up from the sample size BARC is talking about, which is much larger than TAM. With a rating system coming in place, music channels will benefit and I am looking forward to the same.

Would you say that there is something specifically eating up the market share for music channels?

I think music channels have grown over years. In the last five years, music channels have grown 35-40 per cent in terms of their reach. I would say there is nothing that is eating away the share of music channels as this genre has its own space and audiences. The concept music channel will never go away, it will continue to exist and I am confident that it will continue to grow. I do not think there will be a shift because this is the only genre which is growing year-on-year.

What is your view on the growth of the digital space?

The space is growing as there are many young viewers today who have shifted their attention to digital platforms and that will continue to evolve. Alongside VOD platforms like YouTube, there will be multiple such platforms that will offer VOD as well coming in the future. But I strongly believe that linear channels will have their own place. The TV base in the country is expanding and we will soon be crossing 175-200 million homes in the next two years. That speed is humongous as compared to the speed at which the internet is growing. Traditional TV viewing will continue to be there among most viewers in the country.

How do you think genre based channels like Insync and MTV Indies will help music industry?

Genre spilt has to happen. But with the strong presence of Bollywood in the country, it is very difficult for other genres to replace Bollywood. In western markets, the music industry is doing very well. It is doing sizable business even though it is not on par with Hollywood. The music industry in the west is not interconnected with the film industry, which is unlike India. Bollywood drives the Indian music scene very strongly. Out of that there are genres like Classical, Hindustani and Indies which is a small percentage, but I believe that people who have launched these genre-based channels have come up with a good idea.

If you are looking at a new channel, what would you look at?

In music, niches are always there. There are opportunities in English music content. There are English channels that have programming based on their viewership, which is again niche and not a huge market. But that is a growing market, and it is a good space to be in. There are some opportunities that are available in the English music market and we are looking at the space very seriously. We are contemplating on working on it in the near future.

Your channels have been known for presentation. Why do you look into it so minutely?

Packaging has been very crucial for any channels that I have launched in the past. Be it ETC, Arabic channels for Zee, Movies Now, Mtunes or any other channel. It will be a key for any channel that we have and will launch now or in the future.

What is your take on the live space, with so many music channels venturing there?

There are multiple opportunities that are available in the music space, and live music is the part and parcel of any music industry. If you are talking about live music / concerts/ gigs, it is about giving the audiences the fantastic experience. Live will work on any format, forget about television channel.

How are you pushing your existing product digitally?

We are pushing our product as a linear feed on the digital platform. We are available all across as we are the only Bollywood music channel that is HD.

Tell us more about the viewership and revenue made through digital consumption?

We cannot measure the viewership as of now because it is platform based products. We have seen a flow of revenue coming to us via digital sources. There is a decent amount that is coming in which has helped us understand that we are appreciated and liked in the market.

Many music channels are launching their own IPs; do you plan to launch your own music IP?

It is very difficult to own your own IP because you will continue to be the sub-sect of the music industry. Owning an IP is a very difficult situation. Until and unless you do not create shows, you cannot own your own IPs. Some have tired owning IPs in the past and they have not succeeded as television and music IPs are two different businesses.

Do you plan to associate with any IPs in the future?

We have not ventured into that space as we want to continue to be a channel that promotes film music.