New Delhi: In an effort to battle the evolving broadcast environment in India post the implementation of Trai’s new tariff order, Sony SAB, the pay television channel part of Sony Pictures Networks, is taking its goal to cater to family units and living rooms a step forward.
Earlier this year, the regulator had directed that consumers can choose the individual TV channels they want and pay only for them at maximum retail prices (MRPs) set by broadcasters as opposed to the bouquets offered earlier. That, in turn, puts pressure on all channels to dish out differentiated content and SAB has announced two new shows and a new tagline ‘khushiyon waali feeling’ (the feeling of happiness) to stay relevant.
“The whole point now is whether you are making a difference to the consumer emotionally when he or she is already fairly challenged in everything else he does to survive in this world. In a price-sensitive market like India, if a brand cannot reside inside the mind and heart of the consumer emotionally and meaningfully, then it’s all going to be short-lived," said Neeraj Vyas, business head, Sony SAB. “We are a living room brand, we are trustworthy and centered on hope and optimism without being preachy and boring. We want to be seen as a family alternative, because in this new MRP reality, everybody (in the family) becomes a vital decision-making curve."
As part of a broader line-up, the first show to be launched in the next couple of months is 'Tera Kya Hoga Alia', set in Agra and centered on a woman battling weight and confidence issues post pregnancy. The other is the second season of children’s fantasy series 'Baal Veer', which is coming back in a bigger and grander way, according to Vyas.
“The purpose of the brand tagline is if someone is feeling happy, he tends to pass the happiness forward. Our promise is we will bring that small moment of happiness in your life and make the consumer the protagonist of what we do," Vyas said.
As a channel, SAB has moved away from pure comedy mainly dependent on sitcoms and plot-heavy narratives to characters with much bigger linear arcs, who can grow over time, be it Tenali Rama or Bhakarwadi — shows that don’t classify as classic comedies but are slice-of-life, real, identifiable and bring a smile on your face.
“We have tasked ourselves a little more severely and seriously with this tagline, which means that the filter of content needs to be even sharper, we need to build even better and more differentiated characters and bring more value to customers constantly," Vyas said adding that the content on SAB has always been far removed from everything else in the country and that is pretty much the larger strategy.
“I was very sure the distribution reality would not be the same post the new tariff order and the consumer would come down to a few channels that he wants to pay for and discard the rest. If your product was not differentiated in some form or the other, the consumer would have very little reason to choose you. So we have consciously stayed away from a lot of ‘me toos’ rampant in the television space in various genres and that strategy has paid off for us. We are more MRP ready than anyone else," Vyas said.