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Music Gets Boost on Israeli TV

This revolution will be televised.

Earlier this month, Music 24 became Israel’s first all-music television station, unleashing what CEO Guy Behar and Amir Golan, the station’s marketing director, called “a quiet revolution.”

Airing 24 hours a day, with an archive of 1,500 video clips ranging from Middle Eastern music to rock and trance, the station will serve as a stage to promote artists covering the entire spectrum of Israel’s music scene.

Behar said, “Our goal is to expose the audience to many genres. We need to overcome the years in which there was almost no room for Israeli music on TV.” Behar added that although the station plans to target an audience of 21 to 30 year-olds, the channel should appeal to “anyone who loves Israeli music.”

Music 24 has embarked on three months of trial broadcasts that consist of sequences of Israeli music-video clips: soft music in the mornings, current hits from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., nostalgia until 10 p.m. and forgotten hits, rare music clips, alternative music and fringe bands until 6 a.m. Gradually the station will launch a full broadcast schedule.

In the two months prior to the station’s launch, Music 24’s camera team shot dozens of new music clips and signed a royalties contract with the Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music in Israel. During that time period, the station also began negotiating with the Israel Broadcasting Authority for use of Channel One’s treasure trove-like archive.

Although Behar hopes the venture is successful, he said he is not hanging his hopes on high ratings. “The rating is not the name of the game of music channels,” he explained. “What is important to us is the viewership share, and if we can reach 30% of our target audience, we will be very pleased.”

Thus far, the channel has recruited 13 permanent employees and hired some temporary workers for the launch period. But when the station becomes fully operational, Behar hopes to have 30 steady employees. “This has to be a lean, efficient channel in order to meet our commitments,” he said.

At a party held following the awarding of the tender about six months ago, Eyal Ken, head of Meimad Studios, which has a minority stake in the channel, said that he thought the project would be profitable within two years. Recently, however, Behar, although still confident about the channel’s chances of success, has not been so optimistic; he spoke of achieving an operational balance within five years. “We are not cut off from what is happening around us,” he said, “but we believe in the idea. We have experience and we have had the time to learn from the mistakes of others.”

Like Behar, Yoram Mokadi — head of the programming department at the Council of Cable Television and Satellite Broadcasting, which oversees Music 24 — is confident about the station’s future. “Music 24 has set its sights very high,” he said. “We really hope that it will achieve its goals.”

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