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9X unveils Marathi music channel

India's 9X Media is to launch a new 24 hour Marathi music channel called 9X Jhakaas on 31 October, in what is set to be the first of its kind offered to viewers living in the state of Maharashtra.

The move, reported by Indiantelevision.com, follows the late August launch of a Punjabi music channel by 9X Media, owned by private equity company New Silk Route.

The Marathi television advertising market is reportedly worth about INR 5 billion, currently generated by three general entertainment channels from Zee, ETV and Star, as well as the Zee Talkies movie channel and three news channels (Star Majha, Ibn Lokmat and Zee 24 Taas). Maharashtra viewers can also tune into Saam Marathi, DD Marathi and Mi Marathi.

There are between 20-25 multi system operators (MSOs) in Maharashtra who could sign up 9X Jhakaas. The company will also provide live streaming of the new channel to mobile devices and on its website www.9xjhakaas.in.

9X Jhakaas will include music videos spanning the range of folk, popular and contemporary, as well as comic animated content, with new Marathi-speaking characters as well as the already popular Bade-Chote, according to Indiantelevision.com.

Around 90 million people speak Marathi worldwide, and the language accounts for the fourth largest number of native speakers in India.

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