It’s time for us to redefine something new: Hemal Jhaveri on Channel V

Star India’s Channel V has made the much-awaited transition into a 24-hour music channel this August, continuing with its legacy. With this, Channel V promises to introduce the Indian youth to the future of music entertainment in India where content will be curated for visual delight. A new logo and channel packaging have also been created for the channel by its in-house design team.

Along with a new look and programming, Channel V is also launching a high decibel 360 marketing campaign across key metros.

With the foray back into the music television industry, Hemal Jhaveri, General Manager and Executive Vice President – Channel V, Star Gold, Movies OK & Utsav Movies, said, “Channel V has been a strong brand synonymous with music in India. We at V are keen on changing the music videos viewing experience. Last few years the TV music category has been dormant. With the revamp of Channel V, we aim to redefine the music video experience by delivering an uncluttered high-quality experience, with curated content for a visual delight.”

In conversation with AdGully, Hemal Jhaveri shares more on Channel V’s transition, the road ahead, the music factor, and more. Excerpts:

What has prompted this shift back to being a music-focused channel after four years?
Channel V has been a strong brand synonymous with music in India; music programming on television presents an opportunity and Channel V will have a strong play in it going forward. There is a lot to be desired from this vibrant category which is an essential part of youth entertainment and V will deliver an offering that matches the expectation of this discerning audience.

What was it about the earlier programming strategy that had probably lost the connect with your TG?
There was no loss of connection with the TG, in fact, Channel V shows had the highest youth skew across fiction shows on TV. Shows like ‘Sadda Haq’, ‘Gumrah’ and ‘D3’ still have a huge fan following. The issue were largely external, India is still largely a single TV household, the remote is not in the hands of our TG even in the evening now, since the major GECs have also started programming shows on early prime time. Content like ours was never meant to appeal to the entire family and hence the opportunity to consume our original content on TV became a big challenge. What V did in the last four years has been appropriated by others so it is time for us to redefine something new.

What happens to shows like ‘D3’, ‘Gumrah’, ‘Sadda Haq’ and ‘Mastaangi’ that have been moved out of the channel? They had built up a loyal viewer base over the years. Can these be viewed on other platforms?
These shows were brought to a closure on V, episodes/ seasons can still be viewed on Hotstar.

You have also done away with popular faces like Lola Kutty. Will that create too much of a disconnect with the channel?
Music is an essential part of youth entertainment and hence, will always manage to capture them in the most effective manner. We have always redefined categories by introducing new formats which have always connected well with the youth. We are aiming to do the same here.

What steps are you taking to ensure a strong visual element in Channel V?
Our research found that music channels rarely look different from one another. Not only do they lack a unique voice, but they also feature a cluttered environment where the visual experience is compromised. With an idea of actively involving audiences, rather than just passively consuming music, the new look of Channel V is refreshing. Uncluttered look, great music videos, minimal graphics on screen will ensure a high-quality experience to the viewer, promising an unparalleled visual experience.

Please tell us about the curated content strategy of Channel V. How will that help create differentiation for the channel?
In the current scenario, there is a lack of effort to engage the viewer, who has been taken for granted and hence there is no channel loyalty in this category. The opportunity we see is to present an offering which is a visual delight for the audience, respecting the essence of television medium. We promise to deliver content which is curated for a visual experience and present it in a clutter free environment, making it a pleasure to watch. Moreover, today the global Indian youth enjoys the latest Indian hits as well as popular international music, and Channel V will deliver a complete package with the best of Indian and International hits.

What would be the ratio of Indian and international music on Channel V?
It depends on what the viewer wants to watch. There is no fixed ratio.

What about Channel V’s collaboration with artists for live shows?
We are open to collaboration and will keep an active eye out for partnerships which are the right fit keeping our audience in mind.

Do you also have plans to introduce regional content as well as niche labels going forward?
No comments as of now. We will share the further details, if any, when the time is right.

What are the key aspects of your marketing campaign for Channel V? What is the marketing spend allocated for the campaign?
Along with a new look and programming, Channel V will launch a high decibel 360 marketing campaign across key metros. With prime focus on the digital medium, the campaign will also have a presence on TV, radio and outdoor sites. Other than this, the channel will also participate in some exciting on ground activities to tap into young audiences at major youth hangouts across key metros.

How is the growing competition from the digital music industry impacting the music channel business?
As seen in the past few years even after the advent of internet, smart phones and more radio stations, the category has held its own. More and more music is being produced in India and more is coming in from the West. In future, we see all different mediums collaborating and growing together. Each medium will play a different role, TV will remain the biggest reach medium.


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