Zee TV gets organic with Chakra TV

Zee Telefilms Ltd's organic channel, in planning for the past couple of years, has finally been given a name-Chakra and is being readied for a lauch.

The niche, "alternative lifestyle" channel's concept stems from the wealth of knowledge available in India of the country's past - scriptures, herbal medicine, organic farming, spiritualism, etc. Because of the increasing demand in the Western markets for ancient Indian values and products, the channel will initially target the US and UK markets. But very little film or TV content on ancient Indian knowledge is available. "Freshly produced programming in English" is being specially commissioned for the channel, says the head of Chakra, Alok Dutta.

The proposed channel will launch with a four hour band, after acquiring a three month bank of programming. Depending on the success of the English programming , and the demand, the programs could be dubbed in European and other languages. Although Dutta refused committing a firm launch date, because of competitive reasons, he hopes to launch soon. However, ZTL had committed at it's Annual General Meeting to launch at the end third quarter-early fourth quarter 2000.

As part of the business plan, the channel will transcend from sampling visual " knowledge to experience", by marketing a range of Ayurvedic, herbal and other products via e-commerce and alliances. Chakra is open to all kinds of alliances - content, carriage, distribution, sourcing and marketing. Dutta expects the channel to be "unique and sustainable."

Chakra's business model is pay subscription revenues from the UK and US markets , and e-commerce from products, and consultancy. Dutta said that ZTL will invest Rs 2000 million over three years and expects break even in five years.

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