With a lot of comedy shows on other GECs, what is SAB TV doing to make sure its shows are different? Kapoor shared his views on the content selection and efforts to retain its audience
Raushni Bhagia | Mumbai | October 13, 2016
SAB TV, which focuses only on comedy, has always tried to create its own place amid the big investment Hindi GECs that have a fine mix of content.
With a lot of comedy shows (both sitcoms and stand up) coming up on other GECs, what is SAB TV doing to make sure its comedy content is different? Anooj Kapoor, Senior Executive Vice-President and Business Head, Sony SAB, shared his views on the content selection and efforts to retain its audience base.
The channel recently launched Ichhapyari Nagin and has plans for few more fiction launches in the coming month. While its existing show Khidki has shown a different kind of consumption pattern, a lot of its shows are doing very well on the networkâs free-to-air channel, Sony Pal.
Speaking about the competition from the comedy shows on other channels, Kapoor said, âWe have a struggle to keep the channel clean, wholehearted and offer family entertainment to the audience. So, if the other channels are offering comedy content that has vulgarity and the audience likes that, then our challenge becomes double. While not inducing the same vulgarity in our shows, how do we retain our audience? We aim to have a content that is engaging so that the audience likes clean content on SAB more than the vulgar content elsewhere.â
In a bid to retain its audience and also to divert the GEC viewers towards it, the channel is doing something contrary to what the rest of the pack is doing.
The channel is launching another fiction property called Dil Deke Dekho on October 18, replacing its show Dr Madhumati. The channel had shut down its popular show FIR in January 2015 due to viewer fatigue, said Kapoor.
He explained, âAs soon as we realise that the show is reaching a stagnant phase, or audience fatigue is creeping in, we donât keep trying to push it for too long, trying to make it work. In most of our other shows, there is a linear storyline that goes on for a few episodes and then another one is introduced. In FIR, it was strictly an episodic storyline. So retaining viewersâ excitement after you have done 1,500 single episode stories is quite a challenge.â
Episodic content has a shorter popularity chart. But SAB TV still has shows that are long running and are doing quite well, including Taarak, which has crossed 2,000 episodes. Chidiyaghar and Balveer have crossed 1,000 episodes each. A few others such as Laapataganj and FIR ended after running for a long time.
Kapoor believes the audience has become very quick and discerning, much like movies wherein in the first two to three days the fate is decided. âSimilarly, the fate of a TV show is clear in two to three weeks. Very few shows have that nature which builds interest gradually, but at SAB we canât afford to let the shows simmer till they reach the boiling point. So we have to launch missiles, either it goes up or it is a no missile.â
Despite having fixed its place in the top 10 channelsâ lists in the three markets, urban, rural and combined U+R, the channel is lopsidedly urban heavy, said Kapoor. He added, âBy definition, comedy tickles the intellect and soap tickles the emotion. The people in rural India are SAB savvy, but the channel is more SEC A, B and urban heavy. It is in our interest to keep strengthening that since the advertising pie mostly comes from the urban.â
One advantage that the channel has above other GECs is that it is a family channel that prompts a lot of co-viewing. The channelâs maximum viewership comes from the 31-40 age group, while the 9-14 age group is the second largest contributor in the HSM Urban markets.
In the rural region, SAB shows do very well on the FTA channel Sony Pal. Sab content is also resonating quite well with the rural audience.
Kapoor said, âThe biggest surprise was how Gutar Gu -- the silent comedy -- was the number one show on Pal at one point in time. It shows that when our rural penetration goes 100 per cent in a few months, our share of rural audience will also go up, as clearly borne out by the Pal viewership.â
Among the non-fiction shows, the channel hasnât experimented much, but out of the four to five shows that it launched, two have worked averagely well -- Sab Khelo Sab Jeeto and Wah Wah Kya Baat Hai. âWe havenât really tried a lot of non-fiction, the strategy is that we thrive on fresh ideas to keep the channel refreshed and robust, innovative and disruptive. We have not pitched any non-fiction shows which will fall in our brand umbrella,â explained Kapoor.
The channelâs new show Khidki has been running on stories sent by the audience. The show is showing a very interesting syndrome -- Khidki is the only show that has seen ratings go up and then down and then up again. âThis means that the audience are reacting to the stories and not the show. Now we are getting a sense of which kind of stories will work. We understand that the format is working well, as people come and sample the story on Monday and then decide whether to watch the show the following week or not,â added Kapoor.
Age wise-viewership of Sab TV: