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Zooming in on glamour

Broadcasters are eyeing the lifestyle television market

Yusuf Begg  |  New Delhi 

First it was the Then it was Now it is the turn of to woo the metro citizens.
Zoom, from Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd was launched on Monday. soft-launched its lifestyle channel, last week. The formal launch is slated for October 18.
Media industry watchers say that Star will launch its lifestyle channel early next year, though company officials refused to comment on the plans.
Earlier, in July, launched a half-hour weekly lifestyle programme called on its fashion channel, Trendz. In fact, most channels have late night programmes tracking the lives of socialites and the parties and launches they attend.
"It's just the beginning," says Sandeep Vij, president, Optimum Media Solutions, ad agency Mudra's media specialist. "With the Indian economy evolving we'll see more lifestyle television. However, it is too early to say how many such channels the market can sustain."
Agrees Apurva Purohit, chief operating officer (television division), Bennett, Coleman & Co: "With globalisation the Indian consumer is ready for new, niche and premium genres of programming. There is an aspirational demand for lifestyles of the more successful, glamorous celebrities."
Besides lifestyle and fashion, will have celebrity chat and game shows, film-based entertainment and music countdowns. The main language of the pogrammes is Hinglish.
On the other hand Discovery's lifestyle channel will only broadcast in English. "We're targeting Indians who have an international outlook, who are keen to follow global trends," says Discovery's director (marketing)
According to him 50 per cent of the content on Travel and Living will be devoted to travel while the rest will have the usual lifestyle programmes.
At , 50 per cent of the content will be generated in-house while the remaining programming will be outsourced to software companies like Balaji Telefilms, Bombay Talkies, Miditech and others. Travel and Living, however, will showcase its global content.
"The Indian content in our channel will always be low. And the programmes that we commission in India will have an international perspective," says Tripathi. Media industry sources say that Star will have both international as well as Indian programming with the focus on interiors, cuisine and health.
Both and Travel and Living will be pay channels. While Bennett, Coleman & Co has set up its own distribution network and will reach directly to the MSOs, Discovery will use the OneAlliance network to reach its lifestyle channel to viewers.
With lifestyle channels targeting people in the 18-40 years age bracket, in the socio-economic category A in the metros, a number of upscale products and services are being wooed for advertising.
"There are a lot of luxury hotels and top-end automobiles that do not advertise on television. They prefer to use niche magazines; we want to tap these advertisers. We would have the right audience for these premium products," says Tripathi.
Investment figures are hard to come by. Purohit says that Bennett, Coleman & Co has set aside Rs 300 crore for its television business. The company plans to launch a bouquet of channels including a business and spiritual channel soon.
Tripathi says that Discovery will pump in several million dollars in the next few years to shore up Travel and Living. Media planners say that if the channels provide the right content, initially they can rake in around Rs 30 crore a year. The total television advertising market in India is estimated at around Rs 5,000 crore a year.
"There's no market yet for entertainment channels but it can always be created," says Vij. A Mumbai-based media marketing expert, however, says that the fare that promises to deliver is already available in bits on channels such as Channel V, Fashion TV and MTV. "So what offers is not something exclusive," he says. "Also, the novelty of a Page 3 channel is likely to wear off with time," he adds.
Still, some media experts feel that there will be a sizeable number of people who would want to know about the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Whether or not glamour and lifestyle TV makes money in India, with voyeurism or aspirational needs, lifestyle channels are sure to add to the growing number of couch potatoes.


First Published: Wed, September 22 2004. 00:00 IST