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Launchpad builds strategic model, launches Bengali music channel

MUMBAI: Making way into the Bengali music market, Launchpad has unveiled Music F-Fatafati, a Bengali contemporary music channel, in association with Royal Raj Media. Having developed its build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, Launchpad is gearing up to launch an array of channels in the regional market through 2015.

Following a similar model, Launchpad had earlier associated with CNEB to launch a Bhojpuri music channel Hummra M in 2012. For the Bengali music channel, the association has been with Kolkata-based business house Royal Raj Media, which also has footprints in other businesses such as mining.

Vikas Varma - Head - Music Entertainment Channels 1Decoding the BOT model started by Probal Ganguly and Vikas Varma, Launchpad speaks to investors and companies that want to get into the media space and creates a product for them. Engaging in a three-year deal, Launchpad runs the channel for the company handling the content creation, marketing, promotions and more, while the company owns and invests into the channel.

At the end of the three-year period, Launchpad will exit from the channel handing over the operations to the company. Their deal for Hummra M is slated to expire in August 2015, while Music F-Fatafati will involve Launchpad till February 2016.

Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, Launchpad partner and director Varma explained that the viability of the model lies in building low-cost but high-revenue channels.

“You will be profitable if you can keep your cost low. High budget doesn’t necessarily guarantee you more revenue. Thus, for this new channel, we did not indulge in any unnecessary activity and have a small team which is more viable than a high-cost model doing the same amount of work,” he said.

Going ahead with a similar model, Launchpad aims to launch many more channels in the West Bengal market across genres. Its immediate plans include a Punjabi and Oriya music channel, work on which will commence by the end of this year.

Vikas FFWith 9X too having made a similar announcement recently, the Odisha music market is suddenly witnessing a lot of traction by broadcasters.

Varma stated, “Although there is not much content, the market is slowly emerging and performing better, so the launch is more to gain a first-mover advantage and establish a base in the market. The audience in Odisha like Bengali music too, so it gives broadcasters the opportunity to mix music content and offer it to them. But currently our focus for the next 6–8 months will be on building Music F-Fatafati.”

What then is Music F-Fatafati all about?

A 24-hour music channel, Music F-Fatafati will feature contemporary Bangla film music throughout the day. Its programming will see latest Bengali film hits in the morning and evening bands, while the afternoons will have a slow, romantic persona.

Music F-Fatafati logoGoing hand in hand with its channel id and colourful personality are three 3D-animated characters who will feature in cartoon shorts acting as one minute fillers in between the music. The shorts include ‘Bhaat Bokish Na’ which will present Bengali jokes by two characters Jagai and Madhai, along with Pappi Da who is a musical romantic in search of true love.

Talking about the launch, Varma mentioned, “In the last four to five years, the music scene has changed dramatically in Bengal. There is more number of movies being made now and songs too are being shot in exotic locations abroad bringing them on a par with Bollywood. We thought this is a great time to showcase the wide content variety in Bengali music.”

The content for the channel has been acquired by production house Eskay Films, with which Launchpad has entered into a strategic alliance. Launchpad has acquired the company’s entire library, and deals with other production houses and labels are being routed through Eskay.

Royal Raj Media MD Siddharth Misra said, “We are pleased to tie up with Launchpad for the launch of Music F-Fatafati and to offer the latest in Bangla music to our audiences. With a strategic tie up with Eskay Films, we hope to deliver a fantastic product.”

Moving ahead, the channel also plans to launch a dance music-based show that is currently in the works and will be announced in a week. Besides, there are also plans to get Bangla rock content from independent musicians. The channel is currently in talks with the artists and is creating music videos for their songs. Within three to four months, they will unveil a new time band featuring the content.

The new channel will face stiff competition with the leader of the space Sangeet Bangla that has held its dominance in the market for quite some time. However, Varma maintained that being a leader, it was the only choice for the audience and they will now get an option to explore another channel through Music F-Fatafati.

Music F-Fatafati is available on cable and the channel is in talks to rope in advertisers gauging the market response to the channel.

The channel is going strong on the digital and merchandising front. It has created merchandise items like T-shirts, caps, bags, etc. based on the animated toons. The merchandise can be won by the viewers through a series of contests to be held on TV, Facebook and the official website.

Viewer interactivity will be further built in future through request shows, top 10 compilations and more.