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SAB group CEO sees no threat to Mastiii’s revenue growth amid new launches

MUMBAI: Sri Adhikari Brothers (SAB) group CEO Manav Dhanda sees no threat to music channel Mastiii’s revenue and audience growth amid new channel launches in the genre.

Manav Dhanda,Group CEO of Sri Adhikari Brothers Group (SABGROUP)Dhanda’s confidence stems from the fact that youth and music categories are perceived as one by the advertisers. So, ad expenditure on music channels is increasing.

With Viacom18 launching MTV Beats and Star India repositioning Channel V, competition no doubt is growing for existing pure play music channels like Sony Mix, Mastiii and 9XM. But Dhanda says that there is no perceived challenge from a competition perspective and Mastiii’s revenue is increasing year-on-year.

“Our inventory is overflowing. Revenue is growing exponentially for the last eight quarters, and we are sure to continue seeing growth,” the group CEO avers.

maastiiClutter and commodisation in the Hindi music genre remain as challenges but Mastiii’s performance has been consistent. The music channel from TV Vision Ltd has been a market leader for a while now. Quoting BARC data, Dhanda says that the channel has fallen from its top position only four times in 2016, and never for two weeks in a row.

Speaking on the change in market scenario with the introduction of MTV Beats and Channel V, Dhanda states, “I think music in the youth category is a highly competitive category. There are about 19–20 players in this category. So, first Channel V was trying with original content; now they are trying with music, and they might try something else tomorrow. Because advertisers look at music and youth category as one, so Channel V per se has made no impact. But obviously, we will keep a track.”

For Mastiii the challenge comes from the product perspective and in the form of understanding their consumer better. “Today I think when we are at 23 and 24 rating benchmark and the No. 2 channel is at 14–18 rating benchmark. Hence, the challenge we set ourselves is to lead in every demographic, every segment and every genre of the film market,” avers Dhanda.

Speaking about the content and the market study, he says, “Our focus is on understanding the consumer preferences. We do a lot of quantitative and qualitative research. We resort to auditorium music testing or AMT, which is a classic radio format, and then there is always BARC data. We take a call on quantity on an ongoing basis to gauge all genres of music and not just contemporary music.”

For years, Mastiii’s sole focus has always been on Hindi-speaking markets (HSM) or regional markets. Now with more players entering this category, Dhanda thinks that although channels are playing Bollywood music, it is about becoming consumer’s favourite at the end. So the new channels make for good competition and as per the ratings there is a huge gap—40–60% probably between Mastiii and the channel on the second position, he adds.

Despite BARC capturing rural data, broadcasters have yet to earn higher ad revenues from it. “We are getting rural data from BARC. Now broadcasters need to get more ad revenues from this wider reach,” Dhanda says.

The group is planning to launch four new channels, including a music channel, by March 2017. To be christened Se7en, the upcoming music channel will focus on the North-eastern states and local music from that region. The channel recently launched a digital initiative called ‘Happii-Fi’, which is built around comedy content and will be on the digital platform through the partnership with various digital aggregators and OTT platforms.

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