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TV channel for women

New Delhi, April 14: The ad tagline could teasingly say: “Men wanted, only as viewers.” India’s first TV channel for women does not need men to run the show.

Journalist Manoranjana Sinh, whose brainchild Focus TV is, wants “an all-woman team”.

“I have already hired girls who are trained and excited about doing stories that are women-centric. None of them wants to do stories on health, fashion and lifestyle. Instead, they are interested in politics and crime. I guess, I will have to hire men to cover those beats.”

Focus TV, which could be launched in a couple of months, will be a 24-hour news and current affairs channel with programmes being shot in eight studios on the channel’s Noida premises. Manoranjana is determined to hire at least 100 women between the ages of 25 and 45.

Rustling silks, bright colours and perfumes greet visitors at the channel’s office. Seventy per cent of Focus TV’s workforce are women.

The channel, to be launched by media group Positiv TV Media, will follow in the footsteps of Canada’s W Network, America’s Lifetime TV and Britain’s Living channel. Positiv TV also runs the channel NETV in northeastern and eastern India.

The channel will boost the prospects for women like Ruby Kumari and Anita Kumari from Bihar. The 20-year-olds in Muzaffarpur district go out every morning, with a handycam, tripod and microphone, hunting for stories. The 45-minute news programme, Appan Samachar, which they have put together, is shown in a village fair.

Most of the stories will come from rural areas, Manoranjana says. Focus TV will be bilingual. “I was never in favour of having a single language for my channel as I feel it cuts your audience to half,” she says.

The team of 17 women already has a list of “7,000 stories on women’s issues that have never been told before”.

All the men need to do is tune in.

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