Still massy, not classy: Anooj Kapoor, Sab TV

27 Jun,2013


It is one of Indian entertainment television’s biggest success stories. Its ratings have been going north ever since it reinforced its comedy channel for the family theme around five years back.


Executive Vice President and Business Head Anooj Kapoor is bullish about Sab TV’s growth and is sure it will be in the Top 3 given the opportunities thrown up digitization.


Last week, the channel unveiled an ambitious refresh with its packaging being tweaked without impacting the tonal quality of the programming.


The revamped look has been promoted heavly across some 40 national and regional channels along with an aggressive 40-city campaign using 800 outdoor sites, 300 bus shelters and 300 buses.


Excerpts from the interview:


It’s said ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. SAB has been galloping ahead, so why change the look?

No, it’s just to add to overall interest of the viewers, the overall freshness of the channel, give it a slightly better look than it already has. Logon ko lage kuch aur naya SAB ke upar ho raha hai. Jo log nahin aaye woh issi bahane dekhne aaye ki SAB sawarne waale ka kya matlab hai. They will come and check it out ki kya naya hai… But the content remains the same. You are garnishing whatever is around the content


Just a change in packaging of the content?

Yes, that’s exactly what it is.


Will Taarak Mehta get hipper or classier?

No, No, No! We are not deviating from the programming strategy. We are not saying that the show will go from ‘massy’ to ‘classy’. All we are saying is that on-air packaging elements will get even more colourful than the current elements of packaging.


Did you undertake this on the basis of any research?

I must admit that there was no research done but it’s like beautifying one’s home from time to time even though everything about it is fine.


We have had a situation in the print media when a newspaper lost half its circulation after it turned hip and the content was made classier?

Here the content is not undergoing any change at all. There will be no such attempt. Agar maine jaise kapde pehene the, kapde wohi hain, kapdon me chamak thodi zyaada hai. Lekin insaan mein koi farak nahi hai. Just the clothing has turned slightly more attractive.


Do you expect the enhanced image of the channel to shore up your advertising revenues?

Yes, certainly it will help. The intent is to make the channel look more effective… Deliver more while catering to the same and more set of audiences.


Sorry to keeping coming back to this this point, but in an attempt to appeal to advertisers etc, by making your channel sexier, wouldn’t you run the risk of alienating your core TG?

Not at all! The new packaging is warm. It’s friendly, meant for the family. Yes, it’s more colourful. You can say that if it was a happy family, it will now be a happier family. And no one will alienated in any way.


Remember the core packaging colours are unchanged. We have just garnished it, a little more colour to make the overall bouquet look slightly more attractive


And your pitch is going to be same as earlier…Asli maza Sab ke saath?

Yes, the same as earlier. No difference in the contents and the pitch. Our promos are identical. Just visual garnishing. The dishes stay the same, only the menu card now slightly looks a bit more attractive.


And will ad rates also increase consequently?

I will go and place the menu card in front of advertisers and I will ask them to respond from heart


Tell us about the promotional drive?

It will be across various channels. We want to tell our existing viewers that that aapka favorite channel ab aur bhi khubsurat lagta hai and those who haven’t sampled the channel will I am sure finding something unique and attractive


SABurbia has been a success… what are the other marketing initiatives?

Yes, the response to SABurbia was tremendous, it in fact an innovation award. It won the ‘Best use of creative content’ at Goafest, it recently won a Gold, Silver and Bronze at the Campaign India Digital Awards. SAB ke comics is again a category-first initiative, nobody else in the GEC space has used comics to promote their stories, their characters and brands. And our comics are available off the shelves. Then we have a loyalty programme where we are rewarding people for watching the channel. So you watch the channel, register online, answer some questions and at the end of the week there are some prizes to be won for watching.


Then, with SAB ki Sawari, we are getting consumers to come and get a guided tour of various sets and our shows. Everybody in India wants to come and attend shoots. It’s a very very common syndrome, people really look up to television stars. Here the channel itself is saying ki come, we will entertain you, we will make sure you meet all your favourite stars. Again, a category-first initiative.


And digitally?

We have 2 lakh of downloads of our app already. The last time we met I told you that the key to our strategy is differentiation and innovation. So while we continue to be differentiated, we keep on innovating all the time. This gives us various new ways of reaching out to consumers.


Isn’t it a bit of a contradiction that apps are accessed by the urban, digitally savvy set of consumers, whereas your TG is different?

Let me correct that perception. The channel draws 46 percent of its audience from Sec A and B and only 54 per cent from CDE. We have been No 1 in Mumbai for several weeks, beating all other channels. Mumbai is upscale and upmarket. So we may be perceived as mass, but we have a good mix of people watching our channel.


What do you hope to do with the new look? Get to the Top 3?

Absolutely. The data of the last six months anyway places us in the Top 3 at various times. We have been No 1 twice, No 2… we have been ahead of Zee and Colors at various time in the last six months. In December end, we were 150+ and it was only after LC1 was introduced out that numbers to below 140 initially and then we  went to 159 again after the Holi event. Clearly, SAB is all poised to be in the Top 3.


One had thought that with LC1, SAB would benefit the most?

There’s this very interesting hypothesis: as soaps appeal to emotions, comedy appeals to intellect.


But the perception is different?

Yeah, but I am talking about the reality. There’s this perception that SAB is mass. Guess it’s also a function of the kind of shows. For example, Laptaganj gives the feeling that this is the channel for Hindi heartland, but the viewers of Laptaganj are surprisingly very strong in Mumbai and Delhi.


Well, Mumbai has a lot of people from North India. It’s part of the HSM…

Whatever be the interpretation, my submission simply is that the impression that LC1 is a stronghold of SAB is simply not true.


What next? You are within knocking distance of the top slots…

We are extending our programming to seven days a week. It’s already there. We will increase the number of hours on Sunday as well. In the past we were handicapped by distribution because we didn’t have the budgets that were required to keep us in the neighbourhood of the Top 3. Now thanks to digitization, post a complete implementation of Phase 2, there will be a significant jump in our numbers. It was lack of availability and visibility earlier. Now I strongly believe we can hit 165-170 numbers very soon.


You still do the Hindi classics on Sunday evenings?

The point is that we are not able to monetize the new titles like our two sister channels are able to do. But even then some of these films draw more viewers than the 5th or 10th run of a Welcome or Ek Tha Tiger. But we are looking at doing some original programming now, may 8-11pm on a Sunday.


Shekar Suman’s show didn’t work?

Yes, that didn’t work, but Wah Wah Kya Baat Hai has done wonderfully. It’s in the Top 5 non-fiction shows currently with 1+ rating on a consistent basis. We are trying to do things differently but we will never fall into the trap of a song and dance reality show. There may be something coming up next month which we will discuss later.


How is it being the number one channel in the group now?

No, Sony is ahead of us.


But marginally with just 10 points?

Haan..dus toh hain na


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One response to “Still massy, not classy: Anooj Kapoor, Sab TV”

  1. joshap Rai says:

    aapke tv sireal sab tv me jeannie aur juju mejhe bahut achha lagta hai, sir Jo pahila jiaa thi ushi ko wapis bula do ,please sir,

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