21 Sep 2017
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Sony gets licences to launch regional channels under SAB brand

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India is planning to launch five regional entertainment channels under the SAB brand.

The company has got licences from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to launch SAB Bangla, SAB Tamil, SAB Punjabi, SAB Marathi and SAB Telugu.

Interestingly, the company applied for licences under SAB brand and not under Sony. SAB TV is a light-hearted Hindi comedy channel while Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is the flagship Hindi GEC. It is not clear yet what SPN’s content strategy will be for these proposed new channels.

Sony Pictures Networks India CEO NP Singh could not be reached for comment.

Currently, Sony has only one channel in the regional space named Sony Aath. It is a Bengali entertainment channel with a mix of fiction and cinema content.

Sony has been planning to enter the regional entertainment space for quite some time. It had also made attempts to enter regional markets through the acquisition route.

The company was reportedly in talks to acquire ETV Networks’ regional GECs, but the talks fell through. ETV was acquired by TV18, which was later taken over by Reliance Industries Ltd.

Sony was also close to acquiring Telugu broadcaster Maa TV Network. However, it was Star India which eventually bought the four-channel network for $346 million. Maa TV runs Maa TV, Movies, Maa Music and Maa Gold.

SPN, which was earlier known as Multi Screen Media, owns and operates 17 SD and HD channels in entertainment, movies, sports, music and kids genres in English and Hindi. It has one regional-language channel in Sony Aath.

The company is planning to launch factual entertainment channels in joint venture with BBC Worldwide called Sony BBC Earth in Tamil, English and Hindi across India.

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