“PTC Music Sets The Bar With 60% In-House Production, Leading The 2024 Music Scene”- Rabindra Narayan

“PTC Music Sets The Bar With 60% In-House Production, Leading The 2024 Music Scene”- Rabindra Narayan

A creative man at heart, Narayan specializes in conceptualising high interest television content and proudly heads the World’s Number One Punjabi television network which produces more than 80% of the original Punjabi language non-film, non-songs software in the world. In 2019, Narayan achieved the distinction of becoming the head of the team which started the first ever LIVE 360 degree Virtual Reality telecast everyday from a fixed place – the Golden Temple.

Essentially a team man, Narayan continues to serve the cause of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat through Punjabi Channels. Narayan is the Founder, Managing Director & President of G Next Media Pvt. Ltd (PTC Network) since 2007 and now operates 7 Television channels, 97 Facebook pages, an Audio label (PTC Records), a film production company (PTC MOTION PICTURES) and a Virtual Reality portal. In short, Narayan has been a pioneer in Punjabi media and a well respected media expert with operations in India, Canada, USA, UK, and UAE.

In an exclusive interview with Power People, he delves into his personal journey and ventures in the Punjabi business realm.Here are edited excerpts:

Q1.Can you share your journey to becoming the president of PTC Network,And what inspire you to know the transition into the media industry?

I began my career as a journalist, initially working for Sun Magazine and simultaneously serving as the culture editor for the Sunday Mail in the late 1980s. In addition to journalism, I was involved in Punjabi theatre, which ultimately had a significant impact on my career.

In 1992, with the advent of cable television in India during the Iran-Iraq War, I collaborated with HMB to create the HMB Show. This video magazine, distributed on VHS tapes, featured upcoming movie releases and interviews, and premiered on over 800 cable networks. We coined the term "homecast" for this innovative format and later launched a weekly video magazine called Homecast Weekly, predating similar initiatives like News Track.

Throughout the 1990s, I continued with journalism, theatre, and documentary filmmaking. By 1998, with the proliferation of satellite channels in various languages, I noticed the absence of a Punjabi channel. This led to the creation of the first Punjabi satellite television channel, Punjab, which launched successfully but only lasted six months despite significant ad revenue.

Undeterred, we partnered with ETC, a Bollywood trailers channel, to launch ETC Punjabi. This channel was later acquired by Zee, and our team was entrusted with running Zee Punjabi. For eight years, we successfully managed both Zee Punjabi and ETC Punjabi.

In 2008, we decided to pursue new opportunities, leading 62 of us to leave Zee and start PTC. Since then, PTC has expanded to six linear television channels, numerous social media pages, an audio label, a film production company, and India's only VR production company. We continuously innovate with technology, such as cloud playout for multiple channels, and produce a short film every week under the PTC Box Office label.

Q2.Punjabi music has become a lasting and influential force today. How has the Punjabi music industry evolved over the past decade, and what are your thoughts on its current state?

I've witnessed the transformation firsthand, having been part of it. When we launched Punjabi World in 1998, we used to ask singers to come and perform because there were no studios or resources available at the time. Most of the artists performed at local events in villages and towns, getting paid in cash. They would often end up with large amounts of cash, which they would use to produce songs.

I've seen the evolution from that era to the use of pneumatic tapes for outdoor shoots or makeshift studios that began to appear. This then graduated to high-budget videos shot in foreign locations as the skill and talent moved to Canada, Britain, and the USA. As skills improved, Punjabi music gained global acceptance and became mainstream. Today, it rivals film music in popularity.

The Punjabi music industry should be the number two music industry in the country, given the global presence of Punjabis. I once saw a packed concert of Milk Singh in Spain with an audience of ten thousand, not a single Indian among them. Punjabi music fills discos around the world, from London to Barcelona, Chicago to Mississauga, and Germany.

Punjabi music has indeed become mainstream, and Punjabi music stars have also become film stars. Their talent is remarkable; they succeed wherever they go. This is a unique quality of Punjabi talent.

Q3.What are the primary revenue streams for PTC Network in the Punjabi music business, and what strategies has PTC Network implemented to enhance monetization opportunities in this sector?

As far as music as a genre is concerned, it's not just about Punjabi music—any music is affected. TV channels as an outlet for music are almost obsolete. Nobody watches music on TV anymore. Nowadays, they go to streaming platforms like, JioSaavn, YouTube, Apple Music, and other such services.

The currency has changed. Previously, every artist would wait for a date when MTV, Channel V, or PTC would premiere their songs. They had to wait for these channels. Now, they don’t need to. They just put it on YouTube, Facebook, or other social media, tweet about it, and everyone will see it at their convenience. The modes are changing. As a result, those who aren't serious about Punjabi music, its curation, or how to nurture it will find that TV channels are no longer the primary medium. Music on TV won’t be the currency anymore unless they innovate and find new talent.

Artists record original music and release it directly. The old business model where artists like Honey Singh would record a song, produce a music video, and then their company would pay to air it and promote it, is gone. Now, new talent like Tony Singh or Simar in Cornwall will be nurtured and recorded. Channels will have to invest in the music business, produce it, and nurture it themselves. Those who manage to do this will survive.

For example, almost 60% of the content on PTC Music is produced in-house, including songs, music videos, and shows like PTC Studio. Channels producing exclusive music content will thrive. This is the change we will see this year.

Q4.Can you elaborate on specific initiatives or programs by the PTC network that have made a significant impact in supporting artists? So, considering everything you've mentioned, how successful have these endeavors been in terms of revenue generation?

From "Voice Up Punjab," our reality show catering to both junior and senior contestants, where we scout talent from small towns, groom them in our studios, and transform them into professional singers, to initiatives like "Mr. Punjab," "Miss Ptzi Punjabi," "Sikki, Ni Punjabi," and "Dance Punjabi Dance," our focus remains on promoting local talent.

When we launched PTC Box Office, the aim was clear: to ensure every endeavor contributes to the prosperity of Punjab's talent. It's not just about financial success; it's about making a difference in people's lives. We pride ourselves on being pioneers in the Punjabi television industry, providing a platform for grassroots talent to shine globally.

Our dedication goes beyond mere profit-making; it's about impacting lives positively. By offering a voice to the region and showcasing its talent on a global stage, we've fulfilled our mission. Today, Punjab's talent knows they have a platform and a voice of their own, wherever they may be.

Q5.What's your vision for PTC Network in the next five years? How do you intend to maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving media landscape? Can you share any upcoming initiatives or projects?

Certainly, we're constantly innovating, experimenting with formats, shows, and technology. One significant aspect that many may not be aware of is that we produce most of our shows in virtual reality, in 360-degree VR. For instance, the awards show you mentioned, the Rising Music Star, is available on YouTube in VR format. Viewers can immerse themselves by using VR gear and headphones, experiencing the show as if they were seated in the front row. This innovative experiment isn't new; we've been pioneering VR production for some time.

Currently, we're venturing into producing fiction shows in VR, showcasing our commitment to exploring this technology. We're perhaps the only ones in television engaging in this scale of VR production. Additionally, we're introducing new formats like a quiz show celebrating Punjab's heritage and wisdom.

Upcoming projects include the return of "Voice of Punjab" and the launch of "Voice of Punjab Chota Champ." We're also gearing up for the Rising Film Star Awards and have two fiction shows in the pipeline. Recently, our political drama series "Moray" completed 100 episodes, indicating our dedication to presenting bigger and better formats. Rest assured, there's much more innovation to come from us.

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“PTC Music Sets The Bar With 60% In-House Production, Leading...

In an exclusive interview with Power People, he delves into his personal journey and ventures in the Punjabi business realm.

June 12, 2024