SAB ready to take on the bigger GECs

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | May 19, 2009
In league with its current positioning, the channel is launching a slew of new shows and is vehemently trying to differentiate its offering from other GECs

In September 2008, SAB was re-positioned as a family comedy entertainment channel, after many transitions. To communicate the change, SAB launched a brand campaign, 'Asli Maza SAB Ke Saath Aata Hai'. With a serious comedy lineup and a host of other shows on the anvil, coupled with a steadily, albeit slowly, rising GRP graph, SAB is ready to take on the GECs.

"We are the only GEC to have a brand promise backed by programming that fulfils that promise," says Anooj Kapoor, business head, SAB. "STAR, Zee, Colors and others don't have a brand promise," he adds.

The new positioning was based on the premise that soaps had reached a saturation point. Traditionally, comedy has been the domain of the men. "Males sampled the SAB of the old times, when it was the original channel. Our challenge was to provide an alternative to the existing soaps and bring back the male viewers that we lost in the transitions," Kapoor says.

After Sony acquired it, SAB was positioned as a GEC, then as a youth channel and then a comedy channel. In order to attract the female audience, SAB decided to introduce the daily family comedy band with a linear storyline. "Our discovery was necessitated by consumer behaviour. Since the women have been used to watching linear storylines at an appointed time from Monday to Thursday, we thought of this programming strategy," he explains.

Hence, the channel decided to have shows with strong female protagonists, with linear storylines about joint families. "The key difference will be that instead of depicting the negatives of joint family in a regressive way, SAB will portray the positives in a progressive way - and give them a light hearted viewing," Kapoor further adds.

About five new shows are scheduled for launch -, a daily with Smriti Irani, will be launched on 8th June at 8 pm. Comedian Jaspal Bhatti is producing a sitcom, titled 'Thank You Jija Ji', 'Ye Chanda Kanoon', 'Shree Adi Manav' and a chat show with Shekhar Suman titled 'Tedhi Baat'. Currently, the channel airs Jugni Chali Jalandar, Gunwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Bhoothwala Serial and Tarak Mehta Ka Oollta Chashma.

The channel plans a second phase of the brand campaign in July. As per the TAM Media Research data for Week 19, SAB's GRPs stand at 54, with a 5 per cent relative share in the GEC pie, at par with STAR One.

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