channelv-swapChannel [V], the music channel from the News Corp owned STAR group is gearing up for its relaunch tomorrow with a rather interesting way of drawing attention to itself on twitter. The channel itself has planned to have more of a reality show focus, and will be relaunching its website www.channelv.in tomorrow.

Over the past week or so, I’ve noticed that the profile pictures of some of the people in my twitter stream have displayed the Channel [V] logo. At other times, their regular profile picture would be displayed. Over the week, I’ve noticed more and more Channel [V] logos in profile pics: it appears to be growing virally.

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Here’s what they’ve done: Channel [V] launched a website called OnYours, and until the 22nd of this month, users profile pictures will randomly switch to the Channel [V] logo. Users who wish to withdraw can easily do so, and those who remain signed up for more than 5 days receive Channel [V] T-Shirts; five people will get an iPod Nano. Apart from this, they’re drawing attention to their revamp by asking people to spot changes in an image at I Saw The Change, by asking them to respond to Channel [V] India on Twitter.

Here’s the thing: while Channel [V] is leveraging Twitter and Facebook to reach out to their potential viewers, we wonder if Twitter and Facebook get anything out of this, apart from a few more signups, or increased usage. There lies the challenge of social networks: they have the users, but the brands can always build a community without paying them anything.

Update: One of the things I think Channel [V] did right, was to ensure that users profile pictures are not permanently changed to the Channel [V] logo. No one wants their identity to be hijacked, and making the change random and transient might have helped encourage greater participation.