TV show on arranged marriages is a hit

TV show on arranged marriages is a hit
Managing Director of India's first Matrimonial TV channel Shagun, Anuranjan Jha.

INDIA - India's focus on marriage has fuelled an industry worth billions, lining the pockets of everyone from wedding planners to jewellers to astrologers.

Now a new TV channel hopes to cash in.

When TV producer Anuranjan Jha met his wife through a matrimonial website 12 years ago, he came up with what he describes as a gold mine of an idea.

"I thought, if the Internet, which reaches only a small percentage of Indians can be so successful in arranging marriages, then why not television, which is everywhere?" Mr Jha, now the managing director of Shagun TV, told AFP.

More than 47 per cent of Indian households have a television set, compared with just over 3 per cent with Internet access, according to 2011 census data.

It took Mr Jha more than a decade, but he finally launched Shagun TV (the name means "auspicious TV" in Hindi) in April.

The Hindi-language channel attracts around 10 million viewers a week, he said, citing figures compiled by television ratings agency TAM India. He hopes to see that number double to 20 million soon.

The channel features shows designed to help viewers find brides or grooms, look up honeymoon destinations, shop for jewellery, check out horoscopes and learn how to get along with one's in-laws.

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