Pune: The host of cooking show Khana Khazana, Sanjeev Kapoor, is preparing to launch the country’s first 24-hour food channel.
According to two persons familiar with the development, the channel, whose name is being kept under wraps, will likely air by the end of April or early May. This will be India’s first dedicated food channel, a concept that has been successful in markets across the world. Kapoor is one of India’s earliest celebrity chefs, with his show debuting in 1993 on Zee TV.
Kapoor, who has been working on the project for three years now, is in negotiations for a partner who will pick up a stake in the venture, these persons said. They declined to be named because of the confidential nature of the project at this time.
The channel is expected to cost at least Rs75 crore over the next three-five years. “Kapoor is using up his resources at the moment for the venture and has not raised money from banks or other sources,” said one of the persons who spoke to Mint. It will launch with just four hours of original programming in the afternoon slot, most of which will be produced in-house, including a live audience show with Kapoor. Industry experts such as food critic Rashmi Uday Singh and master bartender Shatbi Basu, who runs the STIR Academy of Bartending in Mumbai, will also host their own shows.
Kapoor declined to talk about his project, only saying, “I will make an announcement at an appropriate time about the launch date of the channel.”
The channel comes at a time when the television industry is also hurting from the downturn. “Definitely the growth in advertising on television will drop from the previous year’s levels of 12-18% to less than 5% but there is scope for channels that are niche and targeted towards specific audiences as opposed to general entertainment channels,” said Farokh Balsara, head of media and entertainment division at accounting and consulting firm Ernst and Young.
“Kapoor’s cookery show Khana Khazana itself had good ratings and was so popular it was later made into CDs and DVDs. There is always a market for such shows and a channel led by him has the potential to grow,” said Balsara, adding that subscription-led channels rather than advertising-driven ones will have potential.
The channel has already tied up more than 700 hours of telecast rights of shows from foreign production houses and television channels from countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, Turkey, Singapore and France, according to one of the persons who spoke to Mint. The channel will also air shows by such celebrity chefs as Gordon Ramsay (who holds the third most Michelin stars), Jamie Oliver (of Naked Chef fame) and Rachael Ray, whose signature Thirty Minute Meals will be aired.