Christened Shagun, the channel will be launched in January, 2013 and will have both fiction and non-fiction programming, focusing on marriages in India.
The big fat Indian wedding has always spelt good money for businesses, ranging from matrimonial columns and websites to honeymoon packages, even movies that have prescribed copy book weddings. Recently, Sony Entertainment launched a matrimony-based reality show, Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai, based on the matchmaking process. Now, it's the turn of Indian television to get a new contender in this yet-untouched space.
The channel targets youngsters and people of marriageable age. The concept is the brainchild of Anuranjan Jha, a broadcast journalist who has been in the industry for 15 years. Jha says, "India is very well known for its lavish wedding ceremonies. It indeed is one of the biggest celebrations of life. The channel will capture that flavour."
The free-to-air channel will be launched initially on DTH platforms Videocon and Airtel, and will be extended to other DTH players later. On the cable platform, it will be available in 15 cities, including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, among others.
To monetise the offering, apart from regular advertising, there will be paid coverage of wedding events. Shagun also plans to use product integration in its content.
Marriages are a seasonal affair in north India with November-March and June-July being the peak periods and September being an especially dull month. What will Shagun do during the low season? It claims it has figured that out with episodic fiction content filling that gap.
One of the non-fiction shows, Toh Baat Pakki, will feature the matchmaking and the initial events leading up to the engagement ceremony. Subsequently, there will be other shows that talk about shopping options, interiors for homes and even holiday packages for couples.
Another fiction show, Saas Ko Saas Rehne Do, is a docu-drama that will feature households which have a healthy relationship between the commonly believed antagonists, the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law.
Along with the channel, a matrimonial portal, www.shagunindia.com, is being launched. The channel's content will be available on the website, too. The group hopes to extend the concept to print.
Also, there are plans for a news channel and two regional channels from the promoters, but those should be announced by the third quarter of next year.