Locals tune up TV

All-Israeli music channel rocks ratings

JERUSALEM — Hoping to fill a gap in the market, the first all-Israeli music channel, Music 24, has launched and claims a ratings win over main 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 said. 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,” said Behar.

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

It is one of five new commercial TV ventures granted licences by the Cable and Satellite broadcast Council (CSBC) last year.

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 comprise entrepreneur Zeev Mozes, Tel Aviv-based Meimad Studios and production companies Zebra and Argo. The channel is operating out of the Meimad Studios.

Under the terms of the licence, station is permitted a 40-60 international-Israeli split in terms of content but has plumped for 100% Israeli product.

“We believe there is a public out there thirsty for Israeli music and content,” said Behar.

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

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