The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Now, try chilling out in an F Bar

Mumbai, March 11: FTV is out to bring the total sensory experience here, live.

The niche channel that is not meant for family viewing is looking at a major brand expansion here, with India’s growing importance in the fashion market.

To start with, FTV will be opening a chain of F Bars and Lounges in the country, following the heady opening of the first such bar in Bangalore. The bars and lounges may be followed by F Salons and Cafes.

The latest is Bruce Springsteen wearing an Anand Jon creation to the Grammy Awards, but India has been “very in” in the fashion scene for quite some time, says the channel spokesperson.

“India has become important as a fashion destination. Consumers from all over the world are very interested in Indian design. People show a lot of interest in the bridal wear, for example.”

It is in keeping with this interest that FTV has increased the slot for Indian programming, too, on the channel. There are two hours of India-specific programming on the channel now. That may increase in the future.

The channel also takes care to showcase Indian designers — major, minor, or just interesting — in great numbers now, alongside the works of the best names in fashion worldwide.

India is emerging as a big market for FTV. Whatever the governments may think of the channel, Asia has a viewership of 425 million while Europe — FTV is headquartered in Paris where it started in ’97 — has one of 95 million. Out of the 425 million, India occupies a major share.

The F Bar in India is targeted at this audience — or others, who are hip, chilled-out in life and have attitude.

So how hot is an F Bar'

It’s pretty cool apparently. The F bars, says FTV, will be an extension of the lifestyle experience that is there on the channel. Like the content on the channel, an F Bar will be visually extremely stimulating. The Bangalore bar, which has a 4,000 sq. foot lounge, has cutting-edge technology, with LCD monitors embedded in tabletops or in the 30-foot glass bar that play FTV and FTV alone. LCD monitors have been installed throughout the lounge and are also embedded in lamps, mirrors on the wall and as well as the rest rooms.

There is also a performance area, where live fashion shows will be held.

Other cities will have to wait a while, because the channel will not start an F Bar in any place — the spot where it is put up has to give the right vibes. The search is on.

And no, Calcutta is not out of consideration.

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