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Pepsi MTV Indies to Go Off Air, Be Replaced by Hindi Music Channel

Media network Viacom18 announces the news citing that “India loves its Bollywood music”

Rolling Stone India Sep 07, 2016
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Pepsi MTV

Pepsi MTV Indies was launched in February 2014

On the heels of iconic Mumbai music venue Blue Frog closing last month, and as a further blow to the cause of indie music in India, media network Viacom18 announced today that Pepsi MTV Indies will go off air soon. The popular music channel, which was launched in February 2014 and aired videos by independent artists, will be replaced by MTV Beats, a “24×7 Hindi music channel.”

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18, said in an official statement, “We will now be offering three differentiated experiences from brand MTV ”“ while the flagship channel will be focused on youth and branded content and MTV Indies will continue to cater to the indie subculture, now, on the digital platform; MTV Beats, our first 24X7 Hindi music channel, will replace MTV Indies on air, with an eye to take the MTV brand to a more mass audience.”

MTV Beats will be MTV’s first foray into Hindi music and will target audiences between the ages 15”“30 years across urban and rural India. Ferzad Palia, Business Head, Youth and English Entertainment, Viacom18, added in the statement, “India loves its music, especially Bollywood music. With MTV Beats, we aim to give our audience a 24×7 music companion who fulfils all their music needs through the day.”

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In its two-year run, Pepsi MTV Indies plugged a huge void in the avenues available to non-film music in India. It served as the sole refuge for artists to receive airtime on national television at a time when Bollywood music rules all other music channels. The brainchild of former MTV India Business Head Aditya Swamy, Pepsi MTV Indies was launched with a vision to introduce alternative music to the youth. In an interview ahead of the channel going on air in 2014, Swamy had also pointed out the risks involved: “I think it’s a commercial challenge. Ratings are a key part of a television business and I still believe that this will not give you ratings from day one, so why not create a separate destination, which can build slowly and organically, rather than start eating into stuff that’s giving you big viewership? The idea is to have both ”“ have something that caters to pop culture and have something that caters to the sub culture. And that’s how we see both. MTV is pop culture and Indies is sub culture. So whatever becomes bigger here floats onto MTV.”

Although Viacom18 has not specified a date for the on-air takeover of Pepsi MTV Indies by MTV Beats, it is expected to run till next month, according to sources.

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