Music TV still a draw for advertisers, insists 4Music boss

Music TV channels must diversify their content and work across digital platforms if they are to continue attracting viewers and advertisers, the boss of 4Music and Kerrang! has said.

4Music's broadcast of the recent Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is part of a strategy to show more exclusive content
4Music’s broadcast of the recent Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is part of a strategy to show more exclusive content

Matt Rennie, managing director of The Box Plus Network, which owns seven music channels in total, admitted that the growth of online music platforms had taken its toll on music TV stations, with the industry seeing a 6.7% fall in viewing figures last year.

However he said his company had grown advertising revenues in 2014 off the back of flat viewing figures because of its ability to retain the interest of young music fans and develop new content avenues.

The Box Plus Network rebranded this week, having formerly been Box TV, to reflect its efforts to engage viewers across multiple channels rather than just television. The company, which also counts Smash Hits, Magic and The Box among its channels, is a joint venture between Channel 4 and Bauer Media.

“The age group of 16-34 still sits in front of the TV and watches our channels, but we also have to find new ways to reach our audience,” Rennie told Marketing Week.

He confirmed plans to further improve the functionality of the Box+ mobile app, which allows users to watch content from across its channels on the go. The app currently has around 164,000 downloads on iOS and Android.

The network is also looking at new ways to incorporate digital interactions into its live programming, Rennie said. One of 4Music’s most popular programmes is Tweet to Beat: a live show that pits two artists against each other using fan engagement on Twitter to influence the result.

However Rennie said that television would remain at the heart of the network, with exclusive programme content increasingly important to its strategy.

4Music has exclusive UK rights to show the Grammy awards next week and was also the exclusive broadcaster of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in December in which pop stars Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande performed.

“There remains a distinct creative sensibility with television that we are able to levy,” says Rennie.

“Some players in this market look at the new world of technology and try to work out what they can do on those platforms. We look at how we can incorporate the technology into our television channels.”

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