Growing SABstantially

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 17, 2008
SAB has been gradually expanding its share in the GEC pie

A few & #BANNER1 & # months after re-revamping its avatar, SAB seems to have finally got it right. The "family comedy channel" has been gradually increasing its hold on the general entertainment (GE) genre.

As per TAM Media Research data on C&S 4+, HSM audience, SAB's channel share has grown to 6 per cent in Week 48 from an average of 2.3 per cent in July. In Week 49, its relative channel share was 4 per cent. It claims to have increased its GRPs by 50 per cent and as per the Week 49 data, its GRPs are 45.

SAB has been struggling to get its act together ever since it was bought over by Sony Entertainment Television. The channel has experimented with many facelifts - as a second GEC, a youth channel, a comedy channel and, now, the final makeover as a family comedy channel.

"The family comedy channel idea seems to have worked very well for us and our viewership has been redefined in the last three months," says Anooj Kapoor, business head, SAB. What has worked, he believes, is the differentiated programming strategy.

In the last few months, SAB has launched a series of linear daily comedy shows such as Main Kab Saas Banoongi, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, Jugni Chali Jalandhar and Lo Ho Gayi Pooja Iss Ghar Ki. Most of these shows have women protagonists.

"We deliberately decided to have women protagonists to lure the female audience from the GECs," says Kapoor.

Rohini Gauthaman, vice-president, planning, Lintas Media Group, says that SAB has been a quiet performer with just one comedy programme, FIR. "SAB has differentiated itself as a comedy channel and gained viewership of late through certain comedy programmes such as Comedy Circus and Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma and its selection of movies," she observes.

SAB's brand campaign, 'Asli Mazaa SAB Ke Saath Aata Hai', has had a good impact, according to Kapoor. "One, it gave us awareness among the masses and the entire family and, two, it increased sampling," he says. The channel spent close to Rs 3 crore on the campaign. Another brand campaign is scheduled for the first quarter of next year.

SAB will also add a few more shows to its programming lineup. One is a comedy based in a hospital, called Marte Dum Tak, and the other is a horror comedy called Bhootwala Serial - both weekend shows. Soap queen Smriti Irani, aka Tulsi, will play a comic character in a show based on a popular play, which will be launched early next year.