Shuchi Bansal & Archana Jahagirdar
Targets the Rs 1,25,000-crore Indian marriage market with a 24-hr Hindi channel; experts say market is robust and immune from any downturn.It is a Rs 1,25,000-crore market growing at between 25 and 30 per cent a year. And Star India is getting ready to exploit the Indian wedding market by launching a television channel around it.The 24-hour channel is expected to be in Hindi. Senior executives at Star said that the plans are at an early stage and no details could be made available as yet. However, they admitted that the idea of a lifestyle wedding channel has been in the works for a while.“It is a unique channel proposition, though it can’t really be called a niche channel as it has a wide viewer interest, especially in India where weddings are a big deal. Indian weddings involve the whole family,” said a Star source.And if you thought that the channel will carry only video footage of celebrity weddings, think again. The programming could include reality shows or be instructional or documentary in nature. The channel could create content around shopping for wedding, planning engagements and weddings, grooming, couture, makeovers — slimming for women and six pack abs for men — and much else.“In programming terms, the opportunity is stupendous. The marriage business could be taken ahead with programmes on planning honeymoons, doing up the house to agony aunt kind of shows,” said a Star executive.Clearly, such content would attract a range of advertisers in product categories for grooming, garments, jewellery, consumer durables and even automobiles. “The fact is that the subtext of a lot of commercial messages is to do with weddings. And currently there is no single destination for such television commercials,” said the executive.Wedding planner and the promoter of Backstage Production, Vandana Mohan, said she was not sure whether a wedding channel would work “as most celebrities would not let the cameras in.” However, she said that the potential of the business is huge and shows no sign of a slowdown. “Money for a wedding is already allocated and kept aside. This money is not connected to profit or loss,” she said. Her four-year-old wedding planning business now matches the turnover of her 18-year-old corporate events business, she said.Bridal Asia CEO Divya Gurwara, whose wedding exhibition is in its tenth year, said: “Considering the way we spend in India on weddings, the channel will work. Interest in weddings is not limited to say just one member of the family and is of interest to everyone.”Does she see any dip in the business? “The response for our event this year is better than it was last year. There is absolutely no slowdown. We have taken Bridal Asia to Kolkata and we are planning to take it to West Asia next year,” she replied.Not surprisingly, even Star India has lent its Star Parivaar brand (that is, its TV star awards) to one such wedding exhibition to be held in Mumbai next month. Star Parivaar will own a stall at the exhibition which will be visited by its TV stars in all their finery.
6 months ago