Anil Thakraney: Channel V: A wasted opportunity

29 Jun,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Channel V has announced they are giving up music for good, and it will be all about youth entertainment from hereon. My first reaction: ‘So what’s new, guys?’ Because whenever I have made the mistake of dropping by at Channel V, I have never spotted a music video, only some mindless trash involving screaming and yelping kids.


Channel V has been around for nearly two decades, and I must say they have struggled badly in terms of the content mix, from the start. From music to comic promos (remember Quick Gun Murugan?) to juvenile reality shows… they’ve been trying to pull all sorts of stunts, with the hope that something will get the Indian youth hooked. This hasn’t worked. Channel V has remained a very small player in the STAR bouquet, and every other year there are murmurs of a shut down.


The core problem, in my books, has been lack of focus. As programming heads and CEOs changed over the years, each one added new confusion to the proceedings. With the result that today, all these years later, Channel V stands for nothing really to the youth segment. It’s become like that proverbial dhobi ka kutta… na ghar ka na ghat ka. This is bad news for any brand, leave alone a television channel operating in a very saturated market.


Anyways, they seem to have finally decided it’s going to be all about entertainment content, whatever that means. But it appears to be good bye to music for sure. Let’s see how this pans out in terms of actual programming, though going by past records, this is likely to be 24X7 nonsense stuff.


When I look back, there appears to be one very important trick that Channel V missed. And it’s cost them heavily. They should have positioned the brand as THE Bollywood music channel from the very start. Hindi film songs are always popular in this nation (the local pop and rock bands are sidey shows anyway). And the channel, being an early starter, could have owned this genre, leaving no place for those who came in later, such as Sony Mix, Mastii, and others. Channel V could have become Bollywood’s official music station. This would have translated into loyal viewership and a lot of ad revenue.


But instead of that, they opted for retarded reality shows, and today they are neither here nor there. Channel V should consider itself lucky its parent has very, very deep pockets.


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PS: Harvey Nichols recently ran this outdoor campaign inLondon. The idea is totally sensational and many locals found it to be deeply offensive. But the damage was done before it could get pulled. Wonder when we’ll see such stuff in India. And wonder how the hockey loving ACP Vasant Dhoble would react. 🙂


Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and commentator. He is Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own.




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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Channel V: A wasted opportunity”

  1. Maddy says:

    So true. Channel V was and continues to act like a lost puppy. The same can be said of MTV , although a more profitable venture.The over zealousness of our so called ‘music’ channels towards reality shows is insane. Don’t even know why it’s called MTV anymore. There really is no M left.

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