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BW Businessworld

The Big Fat Royal Wedding

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Come 29 April, and it will be showtime for the decade's most-anticipated wedding. Even before Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the royal knot in London, the manufacturing world is flooding markets with paraphernalia that marks the occasion. UK-based Centre for Retail Research estimates retail revenues from the royal wedding at £527.1 million (Rs 3,870 crore).

The wedding has also stirred up activity in Indian manufacturing and entertainment. At a manufacturing unit in Ludhiana, pure wool scarves that will be given as gifts to high-profile guests, are being sent to the UK. Centex Exports bagged an order for 4,000 scarves five months ago through an online selling portal, Boden.

Centex was shortlisted from among Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean manufacturers. Vineet Sood, managing director, Centex, says, "The scarves are available in three colours and will have an imprint of the Union Jack." The estimated cost is £40,000. The scarves will later also be merchandised at £45 (Rs 3,300).

Discovery Networks will telecast the wedding live for four hours on Travel and Living Channel (TLC) in India and 29 other countries. The advertising inventory, at an undisclosed premium, is already sold. Brands such as Nestle, Pepsi, Tanishq, Ponds and Volkswagen are co-sponsors.

Rahul Johri, senior vice-president and general manager at Discovery Networks, Apac, is bullish on ratings, despite it not being during primetime. The channel also has five-day build-up programmes. "For the first time in 15 years, we will showcase a royal wedding live," says Johri. Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding  was seen by 750 million global television viewers in 1981. Their son's might be over a billion.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 02-05-2011)