Wedding 24x7

There is a global wave of nuptial mania. It takes TV to close the circle

India's first 24x7 matrimonial TV channel is set to go on air today. Yawn. What kept it? After decades of progressive agonising over the evils of arranged marriages, the national fibre has become exhausted and it's agreed that cruising matrimonial ads is an acceptable way to get hitched. Several Indian portals, websites and newspapers run on the strength of matrimonial advertising. One of the leading print brands runs a whole wedding magazine on the side. And all the powerful rags yearn for the wedding season, when the wedding industry, apparently worth billions of dollars, starts to spew advertising.

Labels matter. Think of matrimonial TV as wedding TV and the game begins to make financial sense. It's a trawling net left hanging loose in the vast Indian media space, ready to haul in interested customers and winch them over to the web for processing, which will refer them to the brick and mortar wedding industry to be shaken down.

This is part of a global wave of nuptial mania, led by role model celebrities who cannot imagine a wedding under seven figures, in dollars, with a media deal to sweeten the pot. In India, this craziness has produced turnkey wedding providers and locations of industrial scale at the edge of towns that are part resort, part film set, part fairground, part factory and all tinsel, where weddings of scale may be comfortably conducted. Of course, it took TV to close the circle. TV now offers everything news, views, money, entertainment, reality, sauna belts and belly-rubbing oils. Now, we shall also get matrimonials and wedding packages, maybe even two-for-one deals. And when it's all over, a helpful astrology programme will be on hand with premium quality stones to deal with the hangover.

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