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Can Kapil Sharma change the fortunes of Sony Entertainment Television?

By Shweta Mulki , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | February 29, 2016
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Popular comedian Kapil Sharma's new show is all set to air on Sony Entertainment Television. Is this the shot in the arm the channel needs?

Ever since the popular non-fiction show Comedy Nights with Kapil on Viacom18's Colors TV went off air, loyal viewers of the show, and fans of Kapil, have been waiting in anticipation for him to come back on TV with his new innings.

Kapil

That wait is now over, as Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is all geared up to launch Sharma's new show. Besides Sharma, the show will feature most of the popular characters from Colors' Comedy Nights with Kapil.

So, will a show like this bring Sony Entertainment Television back on the audiences' radar?

Mandeep Malhotra

Mandeep Malhotra, founding partner and CEO, The Social Street, and former head of DDB Mudra Max, says, "I think Sony Entertainment Television has been trying hard to improve its content as the challenge here is that there is not enough stickiness. There is loyalty to the channel, and people are watching it for sure considering the rankings they have, but there's a need to increase stickiness to the content, which is why they are looking at revamping it. In all probability, they will try and catch up in that particular space."

Sharma was said to be handsomely remunerated for his stint at Comedy Nights with Kapil on Colors. Malhotra adds, "It seems to be a costly buy for sure for Sony, and not really an economical investment, but that's the same with cricketing properties, which are bought at a high premium, and channels still make money on it. If you have content which is going to penetrate deep down into the country, and have those numbers delivered, I don't think making revenue out of it should be too much of a problem. Overall, they are putting in a lot of effort into the revamp."

A solid boost for SET's weekends?

Shailesh Kapoor

Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of Ormax Media, says, "With shows like CID Crime Patrol or reality shows like Indian Idol in the past, weekends have, traditionally, been a strong point for Sony TV. However, over the last one or two years, the viewership has weakened compared to what they were doing three or four years ago. Assuming this property is a weekend one, it's their chance to grow their viewership there... currently it's a critical thing for them to fix. Earlier, in 2012-13, they were often No.1 on weekends, even if on weekdays they were at 3rd or 4th spot. So it's a good strategy to have Kapil aboard and consolidate their weekend slots... it's an opportunity to go back to where they were. The show definitely has potential to do that for Sony. Whether it does that or not, depends, of course, on what the content is."

On expectations from the show, he adds, "The show needs to have that element of freshness and format innovation, while, of course, keeping Kapil's strengths and his brand of humour intact."

Referring to Comedy Nights With Kapil, Kapoor goes on, "Audiences may not want to watch the exact same show," adding, "The earlier show on Colors too had started weakening a bit - it had peaked in 2014, but in 2015 it didn't do as well as it did in the previous two years. Whether they do it twice a week or once a week, for Sony it could be an important property as they've got an existing equity (of Kapil) that they are riding on... he is a popular TV face and the top character in the non-fiction space. He brings a certain fan base with him."

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