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Sony set to relaunch Sab TV

By Sonali Krishna in Mumbai
November 01, 2005 17:29 IST
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Sony Entertainment Television will relaunch SAB TV with a fresh look and feel. It acquired the brand for Rs 57 crore (Rs 570 million) six months back.

The channel in its new avatar will move from being a comedy-centric channel to a general entertainment channel, though skewed towards male viewers.

The channel's horizon will be broadened targeting the 25-45 years age group. It will be positioned to cater to the middle class and heartland viewers.

Kunal Dasgupta, chief executive officer, SET, said, "Sony Entertainment's vision is to have another channel among the top three general entertainment channels in the country. After its April acquisition, SAB complements Sony Network's current offerings and broadens its television audience base."

SET officials said that programming content of SAB will be relevant to the ordinary people of heartland India.

The new improved SAB will hit the tube on November 7 debuting its new primetime programme called Lo Kal Lo Baat.

However, popular shows such as Yes Boss, Chupke Chupke and Aaj Ke Shrimaan Shrimati will continue to retain loyal audience.

According to NP Singh, chief operating officer, SET, "Reasonable investments have been made across programming, marketing and distribution. In terms of distribution, we have covered all the major and heartland towns."

Singh also stated that the channel would break even in 3-5 years.  Pre- acquisition, SAB TV garnered Rs 20 to 25 crore (Rs 200 to Rs 250 million) from advertising.

"We have set ourselves aggressive targets. We will leverage our network strength to ensure that we realise the full revenue potential of the channel. SAB's advertising revenue should grow by about 20 per cent next year," stated Rohit Gupta, EVP, ad sales and revenue management, SET. But will SAB transforming into a mass entertainment channel eat into SET's revenues?

"Sony TV is perceived more as a female and family-focussed channel. SAB TV on the other hand will get a male-skewed audience in the Hindi heartland. This, in turn, would not only broadbase our offerings but also bring in new audiences into the network," said Gupta.

SAB TV is part of the SET -Discovery's One Alliance bouquet comprising channels such as MTV, Nick, Animax, Discovery Travel & Living, and NDTV. The bouquet is priced at Rs 44.

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Sonali Krishna in Mumbai
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