Television

Alpha Gujarati launched

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The Zee Network launched the fourth of its regional language channels - Alpha Gujarati on 21 March. The launch took place at a bash attended by the who's who of Gujarati language theatre, film and folk art industry. The launch was done at the hands of the Hindi and Gujarati theatre and film star Paresh Raval.

"It was the complaint of a woman when I was travelling in the UK a few years ago that Zee TV does not air programmes in Gujarati which got me interested in regional language programming," says Zee Network chairman Subhash Chandra.

The channel is targeted at the rich Gujarati community which has been served by state-owned Doordarshan and the RITV owned Gurjari TV, now and then. A programming formula similar to that used on Zee TV is being used with Alpha Gujarati: women's oriented series, family dramas, sitcoms, music shows and participatory game shows.

The Zee Network looks likely to have a potential leader of its Alpha series of channels in Alpha Gujarati. Reason: it has the inhouse distribution advantage thanks to its ownership of its MSO Siticable. Second Gujarat is a very strong cable and satellite market. And extremely rich. Consumers today are willing to spend on flashy goodies with little restraint.Also Gujarat has a gaggle of entreprenuers who will use the channel to reach consumers if they are made to believe and understand that they are getting a good deal.And with a targeted audience for the channel they will undoubtedly be interested in even taking up commercial air time.

Meanwhile, Zee is looking ahead at launching channels in the four southern regional languages. Among these: a Telegu channel, a Tamil service, a Kannada service and a Malaylam channel.

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