SAB meets the laughter challenge

20 Sep,2011

 By Dhara Salla



Cluttered as the General Entertainment Channel (GEC) space is with new shows and many new channels, one that stands out is Multi Screen Media’s SAB, which makes the most of the relatively unexplored comedy genre and has posted tremendous growth.


It is always a point of benefit when there is less competition or no competition at all and there are hardly any channels in this genre. Mr Anooj Kapoor, EVP and Business Head SAB reasons, “We are the pioneers and it becomes easy to stay on the top when there is less competition. But there is a tremendous dearth of comedy talent in the industry. It is difficult for the new entrants to tap into the existing pool of talent and still churn out so many comedies. On the other hand, more players entering this genre could attract new talent to the industry and expand the talent base.”


The secret of success

SAB has been able to achieve a growth of 500 percent in the past three years, with its success attributable to mainly two reasons. Firstly it provides clean comedy and family entertainment which helps to generate stickiness among the audience. The target audience for SAB is the age group of 4+, hence it gets a huge viewership benefit. Besides, the channel’s tagline is “Asli maza sab ke saath hai” which is underlined well by the shows on SAB. According to Anooj Kapoor, EVP and Business Head of SAB, “We have brought the concept of the joint family in with a positive face, unlike other soaps which convey a negative sense, which is one of the reasons we have been able to achieve our targets.”


SAB is also trying to be a pan-India channel so as to increase their viewer base, with soaps like Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma which has a Gujarati backdrop, Chintu Chinki Aur ek Badi si Love Story set in Bhopal, Ammaji ki Gali with a Punjabi flavour, and mostly all their shows currently sporting a regional connection.


One problem that most GECs are facing is audience fragmentation, due to the wide variety of choices available. SAB has turned this to its advantage as its audiences are not fragmented. Other reality-based comedy shows don’t offer much competition as they are projected mostly towards male audiences, and SAB still garners the major chunk in the comedy market.


Mr Anwesh Bose, Head North/East, Mudramax, states “SAB has taken a quantum leap. In the past SAB was selling at a rate of 800 and then moved to 2500 per 10 secs spot in the prime time but now it has touched 8000 CPRP. For advertisers today it promises a stable ROI.” He further adds, “All the brands that target the HSM would like to advertise on SAB. At the GEC 1 level it becomes expensive to enter with the rate of 13,000-14,000 CPRP so SAB becomes an entry ticket for brands to advertise, which is very cost effective.”


Future plans and growth

SAB is all geared up to face the new challenges, “We are coming up with a reality show which would happen in the next couple of months, but unlike other stand-up comedy shows, it would be a comedy reality show of the families, by the families and for the families and are also coming up with two-three new soaps by the end of the year” confirmed Kapoor. On a final note, Kapoor reveals the expectations of touching 200 GRP’s by the end of fiscal 2011.


Mr Sathiraju shares, “Sab has a good potential. But currently the skew is too much towards Gujarat. Therefore if, for my brand, Gujarat is not a market then I wouldn’t even consider, alternatively if Gujarat is my key market, I would certainly consider. Probably the channel therefore has to relook at this and ensure that the skews are also balanced.”


Mr Bose forecasts, “While SAB can never reach the number one slot in GEC’s, though they are number one in comedy genre, but today to be on the fifth position among the GEC is a great achievement. It is a steady progression. They can reach to 10,000 CPRP. The Indian advertisers don’t give in so easily but the road looks brighter”

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