New music web rocks the ratings

Behad: Channel percentages four times higher than MTV

JERUSALEM — The first all-Israeli music channel, Music 24, claimed a ratings win over rival MTV on its first day on air.

“We achieved a 1% rating, four times higher than that of MTV, hitting a 2.2% rating at the peak. This is far better than we expected,” the station’s CEO Guy Behar says. The station is aiming for an average rating of at least 0.5.

“We’re a niche station aimed at a target audience of 12-30 but I think it will be wider than that,” says Behar.

The 24-hour channel, playing all music genres, kicked off July 20 with welcome messages from Israeli pop stars followed by a clip of veteran punk rocker Rami Fortis singing a hit from the 1970s.

First of five

It is one of five new commercial TV ventures granted licenses last year by the Cable and Satellite broadcast Council (CSBC). The other channels, most of which have yet to launch, will be devoted to news, Jewish heritage, Russian-language and Arabic-language content.

The Music 24 consortium beat a joint bid from MTV and local entertainment impresario Haim Slutzky for the music slot. Key shareholders are entrepreneur Zeev Mozes, Tel Aviv-based Meimad Studios and production companies Zebra and Argo. The channel operates out of the Meimad Studios.

Under the license, station is permitted a 40-60 international-Israeli content split but has plumped for 100% Israeli product. “We believe there is a public out there thirsty for Israeli music and content,” says Behar.

With an annual budget of $16 million, the channel aims to break even in five years.

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