In a day, that is, in 24 hours viewers spent 14.8% – about three and a half hours of the time watching music channels on television, according to the data released by Nielsen in the Ficci-EY 2019 report.
Compared to this, users spent 21.6% that is about five hours streaming music videos across various devices. They spent four hours streaming music through audio services. While consumers spending time online to consumer music videos has gone up the roll out of new tariff order by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has created uncertainty around the future of music channels.
Industry observers believe that music is more about watching than listened, as Bollywood still drives the consumption. “The medium of consumption depends on how overall content is being consumed. Presently majority of the content is consumed online,”Ashish Pherwani, partner – media and entertainment leader, EY India, said.
According to Nikhil Gandhi, president, revenue, Times Network, “I believe channels which forays into variety of content beyond music will have a long play but again they would have to compliment it with digital offering as well which we have done successfully. Outside that, a pure play music channel will find it difficult to survive over the next three to four years depending on how the viewership pans out.”
However, broadcasters feel that both music channels and music streaming apps can co-exist. “While streaming apps like Saavn and Gaana are doing well, it hasn’t had an adverse impact on music channels. TV is growing every year at a rate of 12%-13%. Music channels have to put in a lot more effort by providing consumers with well curated content,” Punit Pandey, chief business officer, 9X Media, explained.
Moreover, the rollout of new tariff order by TRAI, has put an end to the days of bundling wherein under one plan, a customer had access to 300-400 channels. Now the power to select resides with consumers. So while some channels have benefitted from the move, many have also felt the blow.
The cost of subscription of channels such as MTV Beats SD on direct-to-home platform such as Videocon D2H is 0.10 paise and on TataSky is 0.12 paise, per month.
For Mayank Bhatnagar, SVP, Carat India, only free-to-air (FTA) channels have gained, while pay channels have suffered. “Viewership of pay channels have been declining. Popular genres such as Hindi general entertainment channels (GEC) have seen a minimal drop but viewers aren’t interested in paying for all niche channels,” he said, adding, “Also digital provide more content. Not to mention most of it is free. So, consumers will not shell out additional money for niche genres.”
According to TAM AdEx data in Ficci-EY report, music channels account for 4% of the total advertising pie on TV. While the total advertising share on TV is expected to reach Rs 28,000 crores (exclusive of GST) in CY2019, music channels’ contribution would be about Rs 1,120 crores.
Gandhi further pointed out that by opting for FTA route, music channels have given away one form of possible revenue in subscription and now its heavily dependent on advertising. “These channels generate marginal GRPs so aren’t scalable. Also these are feeling the heat from apps such as Gaana, Spotify besides, YouTube,”he added.
For Ferzad Palia, Head – youth, music and english entertainment, even as the genre has its own set of followers, the challenge is largely from the advertisers’ front because the genre is under indexed when it comes to ad rates. “For the kind of ratings the genre delivers, ad rates are low. It should get corrected over a period of time,” he said.
A cost of ten second ad on music channels ranges between Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,400 during prime-time. The rate of a 10 second ad spot reduces drastically to Rs 300 – Rs 500.
Bhatnagar pointed out that the only way music channels can survive is by being part of a package. “If a broadcaster wants to get brands to advertisers across its channels that is possible through an integrated approach,” he added.