Youth Inc.

Let the music play on

Young Indians still want their MTV, not just on television screens

In the 1990s, teenagers in the metros almost uniformly followed the same routine on returning from school or college: you threw down your bags and switched on the television. This generation didn’t want to channel surf, although having a dozen channels to flick through was still a novelty. You would stay glued to just one channel — MTV — and watch the latest music videos from the US, the UK, Australia and even China and Hong Kong. You were cool if you watched MTV, could hum the latest numbers, could describe the whacky filler ads (“…so this neon skull transforms into a hammer and pounds in MTV-shaped nails…”) and knew the latest fashion trends, thanks to hours of gazing upon VJs Danny McGill and Nonie. 

Two decades later, teenagers still watch MTV, but with a difference. They catch the shows they want on devices of their choice — TV, computer, mobile or tablet. They no longer watch American music videos — instead, they can choose from the latest Bollywood music promo, a reality show or a teen soap opera. But most importantly, they still choose MTV although there are similar channels now available on Indian cable. MTV’s share in the youth general entertainment genre has been a stable 33 GRP, although in the last few weeks Channel V has overtaken to capture the top slot, according to TAM Media Research.  

MTV India is a 50:50 joint venture between Network18 and the $14.9 billion media company, Viacom. In FY12, Viacom18 clocked a revenue of ₹1,584 crore and posted a loss of ₹112.7 crore. Aditya Swamy, the 37-year-old business head and executive vice president of MTV India, says the company is


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