SABe's Alif Laila goes in for a face-lift

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 06, 2001
In response to viewer demand, SABe TV's Alif Laila will chronicle the adventures of Sindbad the Sailor

MUMBAI, October 6

SABe TV is playing around with its popular serial, Alif Laila.

In response to viewer demand, the Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network-owned television channel SABe TV, will tinker with its popular fantasy, Alif Laila, based on the Arabian Nights. For quite some time now, SABe TV officials say, viewers have been writing in, wondering where the popular Sindbad the Sailor had gone. And now, in response to the hundreds of letters that the channel received, the adventures of Sindbad the Sailor, one of the most enduring characters in the Arabian Nights, will become the theme of Alif Laila. From the 104th episode.

Alif Laila is currently in its 100th episode. The change will come into effect next week. By focusing on the adventures of one popular character, the serial will, in effect, become, "a mini-serial within a serial." Currently, as part of the general entertainment programming that has become the mainstay of SABe TV, Alif Laila runs at 7.30 pm, Monday to Friday. The TRP of the serial has hovered between 2 and 2.5, and the show is at the top of the SABe TV charts.

Alif Laila is based on the Arabian Nights, a saga that has been popular since it was composed many centuries ago. Yet, of the 1001 tales in the saga, some tales, and some characters - like Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sindbad the Sailor - have carved a special niche in the hearts of people. Says Moti Sagar, director, Alif Laila, "Perhaps because of Hollywood, some of the stories are much better known; the adventures of Sindbad the Sailor being one of them." The Adhikari brothers are hoping that Sindbad will help spin the same magic for SABe TV.

Alif Laila, which started on SABe TV in April 2000, when the channel itself was kicked off, was first aimed at appealing to children, a crucial segment of the general interest programming that the channel hopes to tap. However, audience response to the serial has cut across all sections, across all age groups, say the channel executives. Though precise figures are unavailable, industry watchers peg the viewership break-up between children and adults at 60:40.

The producers of Alif Laila have concentrated on special effects, which drive the appeal of the serial. The serial has five full-time Urdu scriptwriters, and an enormous amount of money has been sunk into special effects. Analysts see the move to give Alif Laila a face-lift as part of SABe TV's current efforts at strengthening programming, a process kicked off in the first week of September 2001. The new strategy saw the launch of new serials like Dial 100, and increasing the frequency of its most popular comedy serial Office Office. Currently, in the bitterly competitive general entertainment slot, SABe TV is fourth, after STAR Plus, Sony and Zee. However, it is ahead of its contemporaries like Sahara TV and B4U that had begun operations at the same time as SABe TV.

Currently, SABe TV has around 22 million viewers and is hoping to take that figure up to 25 million viewers. If its plan succeeds, the channel could reach 90 per cent of the C&S homes in the country. Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network which is now an integrated television content producer and a broadcaster, started out as a software production house in 1988, producing programmes for India's state-owned television channel Doordarshan. DD then had a monopoly over television programming. With liberalisation in the early 1990s, the company diversified into providing content for privately-owned TV channels like Zee TV, EL TV, Home TV etc.

© agencyfaqs! 2001