Zoom, the premium, non-fiction lifestyle and entertainment channel from The Times of India group, is set to be launched around August-September this year, and according to Apurva Purohit, COO, Times Television, work is on in full swing to meet that objective.
The channel, which will be available in the pay mode, will target youth in the 15-34 age-group, belonging to SEC AB, says Purohit.
Content on the channel will be beamed primarily in Hindi, with a contemporary and upmarket look and feel t. "The space we are occupying is a well-defined niche," she says. "And, we are confident that there is an audience for the kind of content we are producing."
Around 18-25 shows will go on air once telecast begins, with almost half of them being in-house productions. "There will be talk shows, entertainment news, fashion, Bollywood. In short, there will be everything that will interest the viewer in the premium segment," she adds.
A team of around 80-90 professionals has been hired to take care of the in-house content. Some shows have been outsourced to production houses such as Balaji Telefilms, UTV, Miditech and Rose Movies, Purohit discloses.
"Balaji will produce two shows for us, while UTV and Miditech will do one show each and Rose Movies has been commissioned to do two shows," she says.
Irshwin Balvani, who was head of special projects at Times Entertainment earlier, is now in charge of in-house programming at Zoom, while Aparna Pandey, formerly head of programming at ZEE TV, is in charge of external programming and on-air packaging.
Two shows to debut on the channel include the Manish Malhotra Show and Cosmic Chat by Balaji Telefilms. The former is a fashion and lifestyle show to be hosted by renowned Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra.
Cosmic Chat will have popular tarot-card reader Sunita Menon interacting with guests on the show, apart from taking viewer calls and talking about various occult sciences including tarot-card reading, says Purohit. Cosmic Chat will be hosted by television star Simone Singh.
Zoom will be distributed by an in-house team headed by Hitesh Sabharwal, who had earlier set up the distribution network of Sony Entertainment Television. "We are not aligning with any of the networks around, but are choosing to be a stand-alone channel," says Purohit.
The channel will be broadcast via a Panamsat 10 satellite, and if all goes well, chances are that Zoom will spark off a trend of me-too channels. © 2004 agencyfaqs!First Published : July 13, 2004