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Low cost Mastiii could break-even fast
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Sri Adhikari Brothers' new channel, Mastiii offers music, generously interspersed with humour elements. It promises to be a music destination catering to audiences between 6-60 years of age, with comedy as a thread.

About 75 per cent of Mastiii's programming will comprise music, while the rest will comprise comedy. The comedy programming includes gags, spoofs, pranks and comic acts, performed by well-known comedians such as Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal and Suresh Menon. The channel will follow an interstitial format -- there will be no half- or one-hour shows, but one- or two-minute gags.

Markand Adhikari, vice-chairman and managing director, SAB Group, calls Mastiii an electronic radio. "Mastiii will offer 24 hours of non-stop music and comedy, targeting everyone with a sense of humour. It will soon become the choice of many, because we have packed something in it for everyone," he states.

Mastiii will play complete songs and will have specific time-bands for all genres, be it chartbusters or old classics. "The format will be similar to radio. We will have gags or skits in between two songs," says Anita Varma, associate vice-president, programming, Mastiii.

Adhikari says that the best part about the channel is that it doesn't require appointment viewing. "Viewers can snack in and out of the channel, unlike other channels which demand at least half-an- hour from a viewer." On the reason why a combination of music and humour was created, he says, "The entertainment genre is saturated at the moment. Hence, we wanted to launch a fun channel."

It is evident that Mastiii's proposition is similar to that of 9XM. In fact, media planners believe that SAB is trying to replicate an already successful 9XM model. Meenakshi Madhvani, co-founder and chairperson, Spatial Access Solutions, says, "9XM managed to offer a good mix of music and comedy. Mastiii is an attempt to recreate that magic," adding that SAB has a good sense of what works with the junta.

Ajit Varghese, managing director, Maxus India, says that music as content does not cost much; hence, channels of this nature are able to break-even fast. "It's a low-investment model, but the revenue is also lesser, which is why increasingly, music channels are looking at broadening content offerings," he says. For a network, it may not be a sustainable model, as there is no scope to increase the scale, he adds.

SAB has launched a full-fledged mass media campaign to promote the new channel. Besides television, radio and outdoor, below-the-line activities will also be used. The comedians will be taken to various cities, giving viewers a chance to interact with them.

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