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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Pepsi, MTV give birth to indie pop channel

PTI  Mumbai, February 05, 2014
First Published: 22:25 IST(5/2/2014) | Last Updated: 00:04 IST(6/2/2014)

Soft drinks major PepsiCo and youth channel MTV India on Wednesday joined hands in a first-of-its-kind alliance to launch a 24-hour Indie Pop channel Pepsi MTV Indies that will go live by month-end.

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It will air locally sourced pop music from leading local languages.

The companies said for both of them this is the first instance of such a tie-up anywhere in the world.

The channel will be available on TV, mobile, web, and at other on-ground live events, according to PepsiCo India Senior Marketing Director for Colas, Juices and Hydration Homi Battilwalla, and EVP & Business Head at Viacom18, which is the equal JV of Viacom and Network18 Group, Aditya Swamy, told PTI.

MTV India India is a part of Viacom 18 in India.

Both the persons refused to talk about investment, saying there isn't much investment needed considering the infrastructure Viacom already has.

Battiwalla said for Pepsi, this is not just a brand association but an actual commercial partnership.

Swamy said the new channel, which will be available in both HD and SD version, will be based in Mumbai and manned by the Viacom management.

On the rationale behind the new channel at a time when advertising revenue is falling, Swamy and Battilwalla said a market research has found that there is huge demand for genuine Indian pop across all languages.

Being a paid channel, the going will be easier as the increasing digitisation and deepening penetration of the mobile and the Web will help the channel break-even much earlier than a normal general entertainment channel (GEC), Swamy said, adding a good number of his existing clients have already keen on joining the channel.

On the content, Swamy said: "20 per cent will be custom made by the channel, while 50 per cent will be music albums and the rest will be licensed from Indie artists."

The channel has already sourced 500 Indie albums, indicating the large content pool available. A normal Bollywood-based music channel owns just about 150 albums but we will not have anything to do with film music," he added.

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