Sony Sab chalks out content strategy to grow market share in 2019

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India-owned Hindi GEC Sony Sab TV is bolstering its primetime content in the weekdays as well as the weekends.

Currently, the channel has six shows and three hours of original content in the weekdays. It doesn’t have any fresh content during the weekend.

Sony Sab is introducing four new shows, two each in the weekdays and weekend. The four shows will go on-air from 26 January.

The channel will launch ‘Bhakharwadi’ and ‘Baavle Utaavle’ during the weekdays. The timing of the two shows has not been decided yet. The two shows will join the existing line-up of shows including ‘Mangalam Dangalam’, ‘Tenali Rama’, ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Jijaji Chhat Per Hai’, and ‘Beechawale Bapu Dekh Raha Hai’. These shows air from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm.

In the weekend, the channel will debut ‘Band Baaja Bandh Darwaza’ and ‘My Name Ijj Lakhan’ at 7 pm and 7.30 pm time slot respectively. ‘Band Baaja Bandh Darwaza’ will have 30-minute duration while ‘My Name Ijj Lakhan’ will be one-hour long.

Both ‘Band Baaja Bandh Darwaza’ and ‘My Name Ijj Lakhan’ are finite shows comprising 26 episodes each. The two shows will serve as the launchpad for the channel’s full-fledged weekend content strategy. The channel will focus on fiction shows during the weekends.

Speaking about the channel’s content strategy, Sony Sab and Sony Pal business head Neeraj Vyas said, “The strategy that we have for weekends is that we are doing finite fiction shows. We are not going to do non-fiction shows, drama, music, and dance shows. We have created the right environment for these shows as we have a different set of audiences. It’s not the regular Monday to Friday night mood. The audiences in the weekend are a lot more non-discriminable and more involved.”

Vyas further stated that the channel will wait for the audience feedback for the weekend shows to move further in this direction. He also feels that it is ideal not to launch more than 5 to 6 shows in a year.

A year and a half back, Sony Sab had made the strategic move to be identified as a channel that offers entertaining content which has is engaging and has something for everyone in the family. The positioning was changed from being a comedy channel to being a channel that spreads happiness through its diverse content.

The channel was rebranded and the programming was refreshed to give the channel youthful imagery. Varun Dhawan was appointed as the brand ambassador to connect with the youth audience.

“We are not just a comedy channel. The word comedy is very restricted. We stand for lot more than that. We talk about hope, we talk about happiness. Most of the shows that are on today and most of the shows that are coming on its way are beyond just a comedy language,” Vyas elaborated.

“What we are doing now with our stories, content, and plot is creating a character which is having a longer linear part and that can be related to the viewers. Today Sony Sab has shows which have nothing to do with comedy but have fun. Fun and happiness are what Sony Sab stands for today, beyond just the comedy. It’s important to clarify that it is not just a comedy based channel.”

Reflecting on the last 1.5 years, Vyas said that the channel has successfully busted two myths. One was the perception that Sony Sab caters to slightly old target audience while the second one was that it was dependent on the show ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’.

“We have busted both the myths in last 15 to 18 months. Those months were very critical for us from the time we changed our logo to the time we had Varun Dhawan in the campaign, to all the decisions we have taken in kinds of content we have put it never happened earlier,” he added.

Sony Sab, Vyas said, is creating content for the younger audience as the 65% of the population is below the age of 35.

He also stated that the viewers today demands a variety of content. He also believes that people are not going to be loyal about shows but will have loyalty for content. This content will have to be delivered through multiple platforms to allow consumers to consume it at their convenience.

Vyas feels that the uniqueness of Sony Sab will hold it in good stead in the new MRP regime. Everybody else is little apprehensive about the new MRP regime, my take on it is bring it on. It’s simply because I think, we are extremely confident because we have already created a content for end mass, which can be watched by as many numbers of people as it can,” he stated.

Sharing viewership data about the growth of channel, Vyas said that Sony Sab has seen significant growth in North and Central India.

In MP, Sony Sab’s impressions are claimed to have increased by 9% to 19.8 million over last year. In the North Zone, impressions have increased by 12% to 67.6 million. It also gained in the crucial Delhi market with impressions going up by 24% 23.4 million.

In the West zone, the impressions have increased by 16% to 148.6 million. In Maharashtra, Sony Sab’s impressions have increased by 23% to 75.9 million over last year. In Mumbai, impressions have increased by 19% to 35.3 million.

As per data provided by the channel, Sony Sab’s coverage among NCCS AB 15+ increased from 36 million to 38 million over last year. NCCS AB Male 15+ increased from 18.8 million to 19.7 million. NCCS AB Female 15+ increased from 17.4 million to 18.3 million.

Over the course of last year, Sony Sab saw a 10% increase in time spent from 110 minutes to 121 minutes. The male youth viewership on Sony Sab has increased from 27 million to 31 million.

The advertising revenue has also grown with the brand count going up to 230+ from around 200. The top categories for the channel are FMCG, automobiles, and telecom.

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