Moresha Benjamin

SAB revises strategy yet again, to air dubbed English soaps

The serials that have been dubbed in Hindi are ‘Alias’, ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Extreme Makeover’ and ‘Lost’

SAB TV, the second channel in the Sony Entertainment Network, has been struggling to position itself since it was acquired from the Adhikari Brothers. Pre-acquisition, the channel was clearly positioned as a comedy channel, however small its fan following. However, post acquisition, the channel has tried different identities, and the latest one is a youth channel.

The channel has decided to showcase popular English shows such as ‘Alias’, ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Extreme Makeover’ and ‘Lost’, but dubbed in Hindi. The idea is to reach out to the smaller towns, where English programming isn’t very popular. Almost a decade ago, Sony Entertainment Television had tried a similar approach with an international daily soap dubbed in Hindi.

SAB revises strategy yet again, to air dubbed English soaps
Anuj Kapoor, business head, SAB, comments that this programming strategy is an extension of a new look the channel wants to portray. “Programmes such as ‘Love Story’, ‘Mohalla Mohabbatwala’, and ‘Left Right Left’ belong to different genres and thus have helped the channel carve out a niche in the general entertainment circuit. The dubbed English shows will help the channel cut across viewers in smaller towns.”
SAB revises strategy yet again, to air dubbed English soaps
Close observers of the industry, such as Manish Porwal, managing director, Starcom, India West and South, feels this is a desperate attempt by the channel to garner eyeballs, although he sees no harm in it, as the channel has often experimented with different genres of programming in the past.

Some industry watchers such as Jyoti Bansal, V-P, MPG, are more optimistic. She feels that youngsters in smaller towns are adapting to westernisation very fast, and such a show will be aspirational. She expects that young viewers who watch shows such as ‘Left Right Left’, which has a considerable fan following, will also sample these shows.

However, CD Mitra, president, OMS, has serious doubts about the success of the dubbed programmes. He says, “The concept is the same as that of dubbed Hollywood movies, but the big difference between the two is that movies end in two hours, but serials go on. Viewers from smaller towns, at whom the programme is aimed, need to adapt and get accustomed to such shows.”

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