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Five Questions For David Kines, VP MuchMusic

David Kines is Vice President of MuchMusic /  MuchMoreMusic / MuchLOUD / MuchVibe / MuchMoreRetro / PunchMuch / Razer.  I believe he has the longest business card in the world.

A driving force behind the distinctive Much style of live television, David has been key to the brand’s popularity within the ever-changing pop culture landscape. He took on the role of Vice President for MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic in November 2000, and continues to develop and grow music and youth lifestyle brands for CHUM across multiple platforms – MuchLOUD (2001), MuchVibe (2001), MuchMoreRetro (2003), and in 2005 Razer and PunchMuch.

One Degree: Tell us about PunchMuch.  What do viewers see on screen and in other media?

PunchMuch is North America’s first and only 24/7/365 all-request music video channel that uses wireless SMS technology for viewers to make their requests.

The enriched TV screen for the channel currently consists of 4 active areas:

  • A live window where requested videos play.
  • A bar along the bottom of the screen where a list of available music videos crawls, along with a 3-digit code for each video.
  • The request leaders ranking. The top 4 most-requested videos are displayed along with the percentage of the total votes each has received.
  • A live SMS chat window. This is active during certain hours of the day. It is manually moderated to ensure appropriate messages make it to air.


Viewers watch the channel or website (and soon their cell phones) to find out the 3-digit code for a music video they want to request. They then SMS that 3-digit code to a PunchMuch short-code. The request, a.k.a. vote, is instantly and automatically tabulated and reflected in the on-screen request leaders chart and the viewer receives a return SMS message confirming their request has been received. Three seconds before the end of the music video currently on-air, the software "freezes" the voting and picks the video with the most votes to play next. The video’s vote-count is reset to zero, though that doesn’t stop viewers from requesting it again and the video playing almost as soon as its first play is ended!

One Degree: It looks like you are thinking of mobile phones as the primary "backchannel".  Will the Net play a supporting role or is it integral?

We’re sticking to just mobile phones as the backchannel. The net is used to supply information on voting and chatting and solicit feedback.

One Degree: I assume that PunchMuch will offer some unique opportunities for advertisers to reach the illusive youth audience.  Any particular approaches to integrating marketing messages into the PunchMuch concept?

Definitely! In addition to traditional commercial breaks, the opportunity exists for on-screen logos, SMS contesting, and sponsor messages attached to the return SMS message.

One Degree: Kids are damn savvy to advertising these days.  How does this change the way marketers need to approach your audience?

The early success of this channel shows that when you give viewers a simple, reliable way of influencing what they get to see, they will become actively involved. We’re getting thousands of requests a day, and this is for a channel with limited "digital" distribution. If marketers do the same thing – offer viewers a choice – we think they’ll be successful.

One Degree: Do you feel this is an early stage of an ongoing trend towards creating a "backchannel" for audiences to respond to and interact with offline media in general or is it unique to this audience and opportunity?

The simplicity and power of SMS has been sorely underutilitzed in North America so far. We think we’ve only just begun to tap the potential to use SMS as one of the backchannels to interact with our audience.

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