MUMBAI: After a successful first year of operation, the Pepsi MTV Indies television channel is looking to increase its engagement with its youth audience through live events which will also generate additional content for the channel.

Aimed largely at the subculture around indie music, Pepsi MTV Indies nonetheless claims an average 10m viewers per week, putting it on a par with English-language general entertainment channels.

It is obviously a niche channel, but one media planner explained to the Business Standard that it had "found traction among a very targeted audience which has a prominent urban presence", making it an attractive option for certain advertisers.

The fact that content is not restricted to music but also includes movies and comedy means there is "a variety that advertisers look for".

And now the channel has wrapped up all those various strands into a four-day event, Spiro, organised by sister company INS, the events business of parent Viacom18. The first took place last week at various venues across Mumbai and may in future spread to other cities.

"The best way to enjoy the independent subculture is through live experiences," said Aditya Swamy, business head, MTV India and Pepsi MTV Indies, explaining how "we are bringing the indie side of life closer to where our audiences are".

The channel has also gone looking for those audiences in other places where they are present. "While we have broadcast as one of the main pillars, we are heavily invested in the social platform and the mobile platform to keep the viewers engaged," said Swamy.

"From the start we have been aggressive with our mobile app, and we launched the revamped version to coincide with the first year anniversary," he added.

Another area it has explored is partnerships, and not just the headline co-branding of the channel with Pepsi – brands such as Ray-Ban and Dewars have sponsored shows.

Swamy highlighted a related aspect when talking about the potential competition posed by the likes of YouTube. "YouTube, instead of eating into our consumption, acts like a feeding pipe for content," he said.

"In this space, there is no scope for competition. It is a growing genre and everyone realises that there is need to collaborate in the eco-system. So, instead of 'versus', the attitude is about 'and'."

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff