Television

SabTV stands unaffected; continues to garner a steady viewership

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MUMBAI: Some make call it stagnant and others may call it stable. But, the point in note here, is that Sab TV over the last four years has managed to sustain its channel share. A channel that began as a mass entertainment channel quickly transformed itself into a humour and current affairs outfit. Interestingly, four years down the line, this niche channel still seems to have its hold and its due share of steady and loyal viewership.

It is important here, to bear in mind that despite the entry of Sahara Manoranjan at the same time, recently rechristened as Sahara One and Star Utsav, Star's heartland channel earlier this year, whose launch was supposedly aimed at flanking the other two (Sab & Sahara), Sab TV seems to be standing unaffected.

Commanding a current channel share of three per cent, when juxtaposed with all the other Hindi entertainment channels in the CS 4+ Hindi speaking markets according to TAM data, this small scale low budget channel has managed to carve a niche as well as sustain itself as a profitable unit.

Looking at the recent past, Utsav which started off with a channel share of 2 per cent among the three ( Sab, Sahara, Utsav) has managed to spruce itself to a 20 - 30 per cent channel share in the last five to six months. So, where has Utsav got its viewership from?

One thing is definite. It certainly hasn't managed to eat into Sab's pie, Sahara well maybe. Looking at channel share figures over the last couple of months, Sahara's share has shown a consistent dip. This player although accounts for the largest channel share among the three, has not managed to sustain its figures. From a whopping 71 per cent, Sahara has oscillated to a 45-55 per cent share.

Sab on the other hand, may not have grown but has managed to sustain its share ranging from 23 - 29 per cent.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Sab TV president - sales and marketing Kanta Advani says, " The fact that we have maintained our share is commendable in today's age. One thing is established, that it is only content which drives a channel. So, the key has been differentiation."

Advani also pointed out that with the burst of channels and viewership getting further fragmented maintaining the innings itself is an uphill task.

Speaking to media planners on Sab TV and their take on how it is perceived by advertisers, most said that Sab was a good cost efficient medium. Also, the channel has managed to weave in innovations for every brand ensuring value for money.

Says Madison communications Sudipto Roy, " If you look at inventory sales, the highest clutter outside of the movies channels is on Sab TV. If you look at general entertainment channels, Sab TV has been quite high in terms of inventory sales. This can be attributed to Sab's loyal set of audience."

Another factor pointed out by Mindshare's investment director Laxshmi Narasimhan, " Sab TV also tries very hard to add value in terms of innovative packaging and Sab does it consistently and cost-effectively."

Narasimhan also points out that if there is any channel that is slightly male skewed, it is SabTV. Going on to further state that the biggest gap in the Indian television industry today is that there is no option for the Indian male. Hence a lot of male viewers get on to Sab by default rather than a Sony or a Star Plus.

One other aspect that works in favour of Sab TV is its differentiated content as well as its very clearly positioning of it being comedy and current affairs and all programmes are in tandem with their positioning statement. Sab also manages to draw younger audiences who fall in the CS 4 - 14 SEC A, as younger audiences show a skew towards comedy.

Interestingly, Utsav does not seem to have entered into any media planners bouquet.

All in all, as is evident, Sab TV has not gained but has managed to maintain its channel shares, where as Sahara seems to be losing ground. Although, with the coming of Sahara One, one has to wait and watch as to whether the channel manages to make the jump among mainline general entertainment channels.

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