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Moon TV catches Agra's fancy

Nistula Hebbar in Agra | May 07, 2004 09:44 IST

Candidates in Lok Sabha election in Agra are not too concerned with exit poll results on major national networks. Their eyes are glued to exit poll results on Moon channel, Agra's very own news and entertainment channel.

So if you are not a Star on any other channel and if you are from Agra, then the Moon network wants you. The exit polls on the channel cover Agra, Mathura, Jalesar and Firozabad, in short, all that a national channel will not cover.

The television network, which started as just another cable network a couple of years ago, has over a lakh subscribers now.

It offers a bouquet of five channels, including Moon News, Cinema, Moon Namaste, Moon TV and Music. The network has successfully marketed the 'think global, act local' credo.

Apart from a 24-hour news channel full of local reports, there is programming showcasing local talent as well.

Programmes like Antakshari and Tak Dhina Dhin have discovered many a local Govindas and Lata Mangeshkars.

Reporters for the channel are mostly young locals. "My family will not allow me to live on my own in Delhi, so I applied
here and got to be a TV personality," said Pooja, an anchor for the channel. She now has her very own fan following.

The network is being bankrolled by local liquor baron, Bhai Mohan Singh. "We had originally thought of just a regular subscriber network, but later looking at the popularity of  TV news, we thought why not launch one here," said Rahul Paliwal, the channel's chief.

The network really came into its own during the Lok Sabha polls, so much so, that candidates are now accusing each other of bribing the channel for favourable coverage.

The network has 65 staffers, 11 of them reporters.

"A lot of our reporters find jobs in other TV channels in Lucknow and Delhi," Paliwal said.

"We also hold a workshop every summer for youngsters who want to get into television," he added.

Next stop? Moon TV Institute of  Communication, perhaps.


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