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9X Media plans to launch two more music channels

MUMBAI: 9X Media is planning to launch two regional language music channels, taking its network to a total of seven channels in a vertical that is intensely competitive.

Pradeep Guha“One of the channels will be in Bengali. The other market we are looking at is Oriya. We want to stay in the Hindi speaking market region and are not looking at Southern languages as of now,” 9X Media managing director Pradeep Guha told TelevisionPost.com.

9X Media has applied for licences and is awaiting government approval. “We have applied for licences for two regional language music channels. We are ready to launch from our side but haven’t got licences yet,” Guha said.

It may be recalled that Information & Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari recently stated that applications for 243 new TV channels are at various stages of clearance. The Ministry has been slow on issuing licences in the last year. In entire 2013, it issued only seven new licences, while in 2014 it has awarded four so far.

9X Media, which runs two Bollywood music channels 9XM and 9X Jalwa, is carving a niche for itself in the music space. It also has music channels in Marathi, Punjabi and English languages.

Giving more details about the channels and the rationale behind the new launches, Guha said music consumption in India is very different than anywhere else in the world. “In India, it (music) is derivative of movies. And it will always work. In fact, we have seen growth on 9XM, which is better than many other genres,” he explained.

9X Media, which is owned by private equity firm New Silk Route (NSR), will be able to launch the channels from internal accruals. If need be, additional funding will be provided by NSR. “We may not need additional funding and launch the channels from internal accruals. If needed, NSR will put in funds,” Guha added.

Why is 9X Media not looking at Southern languages? “If you are launching in the South, you have to look at all four languages (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada). Otherwise, it doesn’t make any impact. And for doing that, we don’t have the bandwidth yet. So our plan is to stay in the HSM market and explore it further,” Guha said.

But isn’t the Oriya market too small? “When we were launching 9X Tashan, people said that Punjab is a small market, but it turned out very big for us. It’s all about content and I don’t think that Oriya is small in any way or that Bengali doesn’t offer us an opportunity.”

The other channels of the group are 9X Jhakaas (Marathi music channel) and 9XO (English music channel) apart from 9X Tashan, 9XM and 9X Jalwa (timeless Bollywood music).