Television music channels in India were long ago taken over by adventure, love and fashion-based reality shows. But melody is slowly making a comeback on the small screen thanks to new channels that are offering Bollywood numbers from different eras 24X7.
Sony MIX, 9XM and the newly-launched 9X Jalwa are among those bringing back music to Indian television while focussing on film numbers.
The 9X network, which was already playing latest Hindi music on 9XM, non-stop Punjabi music channel on 9X Tashan and Marathi music on 9X Jhakaas, has launched 9X Jalwa, dedicated to music from the 1960s to early 2000.
There was a "huge demand among viewers for melodious Bollywood music", Amar Tidke, head (programming) and senior vice president, 9X Media Pvt. Ltd, told IANS. "But then there was no channel that played these timeless Bollywood hits through the day."
In the 1990s, youth would tune into MTV and Channel V to satiate their music thirst. But over time these channels went beyond music with shows like "Roadies", "Splitsvilla" and "Dare 2 Date", forcing youth to turn to the radio for music.
It is this music space that the new channels are hoping to tap on TV.
"Television puts the context to a song; it's a medium used by viewers to discover a song. Also, viewers first like to see the visuals and the elements that make the song familiar and this is possible on the television medium.
"Radio, on the other hand, is the medium that creates the immediate connect of the listener to the song after it has been played on television," he added.
Other existing music channels include Sony MIX, B4U Music, Mastii and MTunes. Some pep it up with animated characters, while some offer time bands catering to different age groups.
Explaining the rationale behind launching Sony MIX, a pure music channel, Neeraj Vyas, its executive vice president and business head, said: "At the network level, music was a natural extension for MSM India. We have amazing brands in the genres of general entertainment, movies and comedy. Hence, with music we found our fourth pillar."
So while some channels play old classics at night, some play latest hits, and others play evergreen numbers throughout the day, one wonders what's a heady mix for a good music channel?
"A good music channel is one where everyone finds their favourites at their own suitable time," said Vyas.
"So we selected the best of music from across all eras and scheduled it as per the genre's audience profile. We did extensive research to identify the audience profiles, which indicated that while youth was big on music channels during the daylight hours, it was the senior target group of 25-44 years that sought music in the night," he added, elucidating on the channel's content strategy.
Besides, as Tidke puts it, "the success of Bollywood music across the globe is research enough for any music channel to focus on music."
According to Pritika Majumdar, 25, it is extremely relaxing to tune into a music channel at night, especially after a hard day at work.
"Who has the patience to watch all the drama and crying on TV after a working day? It's best to put on some music on TV. It also helps me remain updated on the latest songs in upcoming films," said Majumdar.
For 68-year-old Rajesh Khurana, the old melodies on music channels bring nostalgia.
"There are such beautiful, old, romantic numbers that are played on these music channels at night. When I watch them at night with my wife, it brings back fond memories of our younger days. The beauty and simplicity of those songs are unmatched," he said.