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Sony Sab’s revamp plan

MUMBAI: Sony Sab will revamp its shows, expand its distribution footprint, seek for a wider audience base, look at creating a new prime time and continue to grow its tent-pole property ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltha Chasma’.

The plan is also to launch a non-fiction show in future. The family humour channel currently does not have a non-fiction show.

As part of its brand refresh initiative, Sony Sab went live with its new logo and on-air packaging at 8.30 pm on Tuesday. The channel has roped in Varun Dhawan as its ‘Happiness Ambassador’.

With the revamp, Sab plans to target a wider audience base encompassing both male and young viewers.

Talking about the strategy, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) CEO NP Singh ‎said, “We are expanding the distribution reach of the channel. The brand refresh and the new shows will also help to expand the channel’s reach.”

The channel is also planning to pull the plug on its existing shows, except its tent-pole show ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltha Chasma’.

The existing shows to go off the air include ‘Ichhapyaari Naagin’, ‘Chidiya Ghar’ and ‘Trideviyaan’. The show ‘Dil Deke Dekho’ has already been replaced by ‘TV Biwi Aur Mein’, which went on air on Tuesday at 9.30 pm. On 22 May, the channel replaced its sci-fi comedy ‘Yaaro Ka Tashan’ with the new show ‘Sajjan Re Phir Jhoot Mat Bolo’.

The shows that are set to be taken off air will be telecast on the network’s free-to-air (FTA) channel Sony Pal.

The new line-up of shows comprises ‘TV, Biwi Aur Main’, ‘Tenali Rama’, ‘Shankar Jay Kishan, 3-in-1’ and ‘Aadat Se Majboor’. The new line-up will go on air by August.

Sony Sab and Max senior EVP and head Neeraj Vyas stated that Contiloe Pictures’ upcoming show ‘Tenali Rama’ will be the next offering lined up for launch.

“We are taking a calculated approach with the new shows. We don’t want to rush with the programming, hence the plan to launch one show a month. We will do it gradually because there is audience for some of the old shows. We will assess our audience’s response to the new shows. The new shows have a very contemporary feel to them. I personally like to create a finite show and we are discussing this with our producers,” Vyas commented.

Sab has three and a half hours of daily original programming from Monday to Friday. Though there has been no change in the prime time, Vyas stated that there is a plan to create a new prime time in the near future.

“The prime time of some of the GECs starts from 12.30 pm, so we may start an early prime time in the future. However, we are currently focusing on revamping the prime time. We still have to take a call on whether it is the weekday or weekend prime time. We have to be prudent because expansion of the time band wouldn’t help people beyond a point.”

“Most of the content has a North India skew in terms of flavours. A lot of content is made around North India in terms of look and language. So, it’s really challenging, but at the end it’s the content that counts,” Vyas added.

With respect to marketing and promotion, the channel is planning to roll out 360-degree promotions. The promos will kick off on 14 June in ‘The Times of India’, followed by OOH, television including out-of-network channels, cinema and radio.

With the change in the channel’s positioning, Vyas feels that the advertising community will be happy with the overall package. “This will give a good message to the advertising community as the brand has a new and fresh look. Almost all the FMCG brands have come on board, from Hindustan Lever down to Colgate,” Vyas explained.

The new content will be available on the channel’s digital platform Sony Liv as well.