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Thursday, Aug 05, 2004
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More channels to ride wave of spirituality
New Delhi , Aug 4
SPIRITUALITY sure sells. After ETC Networks Ltd and the Times Group announcing plans to start religious channels, several such channels are set to be launched shortly.
Among the prominent ones are Mata Amritanandmaya's channel called Amma, the Brahmakumari Ashram's Om Shanti-The Peace Channel, the RSS-backed Sudarshan Channel and two others called Satya and Sanskriti.
Currently there are several full-fledged 24-hour channels such as Astha, Sanskara, Jagran, Sadhana, Jeevan TV and the God Channel already on air. Other general entertainment channels carry a religious block both in the morning and evening.
So is there space for so many channels? "The potential is tremendous. For a deeply religious country where it is believed that there are 33 crore Gods, there can be several more religious channels," said Mr Atul Phadnis, Vice-President, TAM India.
According to a research by TAM, while cable and satellite (C&S) homes in A and B class towns have high viewership, people over 35 years of age form the largest chunk of the audience with 51 per cent share. These channels are also popular among the 25-34-year-olds, who account for 19 per cent audience share.
The Tam India study also indicated that Sanskar and Astha are the most popular channels across the country and especially the western region, while Jeevan TV is most preferred in the South.
The Zee Group, which launched its channel Jagran just six months ago, claims to be doing very well. Mr Anil Anand, Business Head of the channel said, "Our channel is just six months old, but in parts has done better than the older ones. Currently, we are trying to expand our distribution in a big way."
The broadcaster is planning a huge promotional activity, which will include on-ground events and a multimedia campaign. "Viewers spend a lot of time on these channels. For a three-week period, the time spent on Jagran has been about 49 minutes," he added.
On the advertising front, religious channels have been able to attract advertisers such as MDH masala, Rupa Frontline, Prakash Tubes and some others.
"We are getting a lot of queries from tele-marketing companies and people selling religious products such as rudraksh or the Shiv Linga," Mr Anand added. Also, followers of religious groups pay these channels to carry discourses of their spiritual leaders.
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