UTV Bindass has now gone beyond its Emotional Attyachar phase and has started to look at music in a big way. Business head Keith Alphonso reveals to Divya Naik Bindass’ plans post Eristoff Invasion and Lady Gaga.
The first thing Keith Alphonso clarifies as we ask him about Bindass’ sudden jump into the music space is, “We have always been into music. Two things have happened fundamentally – one is that Bindass has embraced the fact that the future of the brand lies in becoming a youth brand and not just a television channel. The television channel is one leg of the brand. We came up with the first branded playlist which celebrated the ‘coolness’ of the young, the spirit and attitude of the youth. Our primary and our only foot forward was that we were a channel and so we put music on air.”
And so it has been. Bindass, which started in the year 2007 under the stewardship of Zarina Mehta has taken to music in a big way by having an exclusive association with Lady Gaga and telecasting her chat with Shah Rukh Khan some months ago. That was followed by associations with Bacardi Nh7 Weekender, Eristoff Invasion featuring David Guetta, the York winery festival, Sufi Festival in Jodhpur and Saregama’s Icons Nxt.
Alphonso who had been with Zoom and MTV India, with his 14 years of media management experienced playe a key role in tipping the scales and made the brand a 360 degree one with Bindass having become a key player in the youth entertainment segment.
He propelled Bindass into taking multiple steps towards the direction of actually creating and identifying new lines of business and broadbasing their brand. Alphonso explains, “On television, Bollywood will continue to rule but the idea is, what should brand Bindass mean in terms of relevance when it comes to music? And that is what we have done very clearly with Lady Ga Ga, David Guetta, and Rap Attack.”
The associations have turned out to pay off well as Bindass well understood the prominence of not limiting themselves to the dictates of television. The live music scene helped the brand expand its prominence, and look at multiple lines of business as well as sources of revenue. Not restricting themselves to gate and sponsors, they have used the opportunity to spin off different consumer products with music relevance.
So what properties are going to be built around these opportunities? Alphonso discloses, “There are many plans on how and where we would like to go in the next two and three years. We will take ahead what we have done in the last couple of months in a more structured manner.” This begins with viewing the genre of folk rock as a ‘sweet spot’. Taking into consideration icons like Raghu Dixit who rule that genre, Bindass has plans to own that space and bring it before the youth on a platter. Speaking about how the genre is connected to the Indian youth, Alphonso says, “The music has an Indian feel with a tune and tempo of the rock genre. Musicians like Raghu Dixit perform in India and in foreign venues to packed houses. We have absolutely no qualms of going to Harvard and coming back and wearing a Levis and sporting a Blackberry. It is reflective of where we are heading. Raghu is thus a perfect example of an Indian with global aspirations. And global aspirations does not mean that he wants to leave India and go away – it means that he wants to experience all of that with the comfort of being an India, right here in India. Our plans are centered on this.”
That apart, the channel is looking at EDM in a big way considering it has a direct definitive connect with urban youth. And grouping together all of this, starting a Bindass Festival in its own right, seems the apt thing to do. Fan of the Band which was launched by Bindass during the David Guetta Tour was a move in that direction. The concept was that Bindass would get you to the best concerts in the world via an interactive contest where people get to go and interact with their idols.