SAB TV aims to change female-male skew with HD launch

MUMBAI: Hoping to redefine the abbreviation of HD from high definition to happiness ka destination is Sony Pictures Networks Television India (SPN) comedy channel Sab TV. The channel is all geared up to launch its HD feed by 5 September.

Mirroring the prime time programming line-up from its SD channel, the new HD version is to be made available on Tata Sky, Airtel, Dish TV and on cable operators across the country.

But why did a channel which was launched in 2005 take six years to roll out its HD version? Answering that is Sab TV senior EVP and business head Anooj Kapoor who asserts that it took sometime to launch an HD version as they were upgrading the quality in terms of looks, costumes, sets, etc. Says he, “We did not see any compulsion to get into HD. We wanted to be ready with a string of shows before launching HD. Consistent efforts really ensured that best technical equipment are used for HD which looks good as the rest of the competition. The process is complete now. A different definition of HD, according to me, is very logical as our shows provide comedy and warmth which ultimately brings smiles and happiness to our audience”

With the male- female skew being 52:48, most of the shows will see female protagonists, says Kapoor. Continuing to resonate the core brand promise Asli Mazaa Sab Ke Saath Aata Hai, the channel has lined up the launch of four to five shows in the next couple of months.

The male balance will continue. The shows are tailored in such a way that these appeal to males as well. "We will not erode our core audience of males," says Kapoor. "We are trying to add to that by wooing some GEC watching audience who somehow have this fixation in head that unless it is led by a female protagonist it is not for females. We are trying to get them on board using that mindset which is a big target audience."

He further mentions, "The audiences are mildly skewed towards males which gave us the confidence to increasing the female ratio from 48."

The differentiator between the two channels is that the HD version will have certain shows, talk shows, things werein people will be invited to provide information about comedy or the genres that were explored successfully.

The packaging of the HD version of the channel will also be at its premium best. The swish and swirl of the threads in the shades of blue and purple will give a very fresh look to the channel. The threads signify coherence in the audience's lives, it’s the thread of relations and love, which bind us all together. This new packaging will also be introduced on the SD feed corresponding to the launch HD channel.

Attempting to be different and innovative, the channel will launch a show titled Iccha Pyaari Naagin Ki on 27 September at 8 pm. It will present a erstwhile concept of the entire idea of naagin (snake woman) that has been seen so far. It will break all the perceptions about naags and naagins that we have seen on the small screen, reveals Kapoor. Iccha is a sweet and charming character who is sent to Earth for rectifying the negative image of snakes made by humans. The show is been produced by Siddharth Malhotra which will be his first production post his exit from Cinevistaas Ltd.

The other show that will be launched is Dil Deke Dekho which is a mix of male and female protagonists. It is a romantic comedy of three generations. “We might shoot the title song for our show from the original song in the movie Dil Deke Dekho,” said the channel head while singing the same song. The show will launch on 18 October and is produced by Manish Goswami.

Parivaar 007 will see two daughter-in-laws and sister-in-laws appear sweet but otherwise are RAW agents with the father-in-law being the boss. The show will be a combination of thrill, action and domestic comedy. Slated to launch on 2 November, it is being produced by Sonali Jaffar.

The channel is also working with Manish Popat from Saregama for a show titled Gupp Chupp.

“We are not only working on several concepts but are also giving opportunities to several new producers to come on board with us," adds the channel head.

But does that mean its long running shows on the channel like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Chidiya Ghar and Bal Veer will come to an end? Certainly not. According to Kapoor, if the ratings are being delivered consistently and if there is a consistent audience, they will continue. “Certain level of ratings is reached through these shows which also makes the advertisers happy as they get their audience and invest more. So there is no point pulling it out. As revenues and ratings go hand in hand, certain shows see a downfall which shall be relooked.”

Sab TV primarily being an urban centric channel, will certainly target people who view HD and subscribe to HD channels. “We will target the audience who belong to certain strata within the urban audience. HD specifically caters to this certain segment,” he further adds.

The advertising on both the channels will be dedicated and differentiated from each other. Advertising will be seen not in the first month but post the channel getting stable the ad push will start. “Once we have gained certain availability, we will have advertisers on board for Sab TV HD. There is a certain pattern with high-end advertising in our mind,” voices Kapoor.

With several OTT/VOD players coming into the picture with major shows in the rom-com genre, is Sab TV seeing any danger from them? “Digital is a revolution across the world. Any channel is similarly under threat like us. You can’t stop it. Till now limited segments are consuming it which is not threatening the overall business model. There are long term challenges post its penetration but I think the solutions will also be available till that time.”

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