MTV India

[via John Robb] Fortune has a fascinating look at MTV’s experience in India.

Seen from afarsay, from the executive suites atop Viacom’s building in Times Square or NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters or Disney’s base camp in BurbankIndia looks like a great place to be in the television business. More than one billion people live in India, and while most remain poor, the middle class is expanding rapidly. The economy grew by 8% last year; advertising grew faster. Consumers are getting their first credit cards and buying mobile phones, motor scooters, CD players, and of course TV sets. What’s more, unlike China, where the central government tightly controls television and print, India enjoys a robust democracy, a boisterous press, and a vibrant film and music industry. So it’s no surprise that every one of the global entertainment giants, whose businesses are maturing in the U.S. and in Western Europe, have journeyed to Indiaand to the rest of Asiain search of growth.

What they have found upon arrival is a media landscape unlike any otheras noisy, chaotic, overcrowded, and impossible to navigate, at least for a stranger, as the streets of Mumbai, the nation’s entertainment capital.

India has about 100 channels vying for $600 million in ad revenue. MTV gets about $25 million. The key point in the article is the need to localise and be patient.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.