x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A song in the heart for region's Indi-pop fans with MTV India launch

More Indian pop music fans in the Middle East and North Africa have a reason to reach for the remote control following the launch of MTV India across the region.

More Indian pop music fans in the Middle East and North Africa have a reason to reach for the remote control following the launch of MTV India across the region.

The channel went live this week to more than 150,000subscribers, and talks are ongoing to broaden distribution.

The youth music station that features so called Indi-pop was already available in Qatar, as well as in markets such as the United States, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

But it is now available on the Pehla pay-TV platform in more than 20 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

"Pehla reaches between 150,000 to 200,000 homes," saidGaurav Gandhi, the chief operating officer of IndiaCast, which runs MTV India. IndiaCast is a joint venture between TV18 and Viacom18, which is linked with the US company Viacom, the owner of the MTV brand.

"The next big market for us at MTV India is the entire Middle East and North Africa," said Mr Gandhi. MTV India is IndiaCast's second channel in the region after its flagship channel Colors, which launched in September 2010.

Talks are also under way with Etisalat to carry the MTV India channel on its eVision service, Mr Gandi said. Revenues will come from fees from Pehla and advertising on the channel, which will be sold via IndiaCast's office in Dubai Media City.

The Arab television market is expected to be worth a total of US$2.5 billion (Dh9.18bn) this year, according to the Arab Media Outlook, which was published in April in collaboration with the Dubai Press Club and Deloitte.

bflanagan@thenational.ae