By: Yohan P Chawla
Sony Pictures Networks India’s Sony SAB has refreshed its brand philosophy. One can’t deny the fact that it’s one of the very few channels that one can watch with the entire family for some very light hearted comedy, slice of life and driven content with good values.
The channel’s brand new – brand philosophy talks about the strong belief that happy people can make a happier world, and to give glimpse of what this means, they have launched a campaign with the tagline, ’Khushiyon Wali Feeling’
On the side lines of the campaign launch, Medianews4u caught up with Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB, PAL and Sony MAX movie cluster to dive deeper in the channel’s belief of making this world a happier place.
How’s the channel done since we spoke in January, and particularly about the two finite shows that were supposed to launched back then?
I think a lot has changed since then, and for the better. In Jan, we were on our way up.
We were steadily climbing consistently, at a certain level, which itself I think was quite important. But I think post the NTO I think we’ve taken a different dimension of growth very, very clearly. Our market share, for example, from 11.5% has grown to 17 plus percentwhich makes us the fastest growing channel in the NTO reality, which is great.
Most of the key markets for us have grown, which means we haveworked on our strengths and even the weaker ones seem to be growing. All in all, I think NTO has been fabulous for us.On the weekend shows,we can choose. But we believed in what we were doing with both Lakhanand Darwazaand there was a plan in terms of wanting to do something different on the weekend.
That is a philosophy that we will not compromise on or not change and very honestly, we did the shows because we believed that we were trying to make a difference on the weekend, with content which was differentiated.
So it may not have set the ratings chart on fire, but you know, in all every small thing that you do, I think goes a long way in building a certain perception about the channel.
So while some shows may not do well, from a writing standpoint, like I said earlier, I think, today a big, big task for all of us is to keep a battery line open for the paying consumer. So a lot of things that you do may not be very rating friendly. For example, I have a show called Bhakharwadi which is probably a point seven pointed, rated show. But if you ask me personally, it’s one of the best shows that on the channel, in terms of the values that it stands for, the level of execution, the competence of the writing the competence of the performance
So I think that’s a balance that we need to manage, everything will henceforth or not be looked at only strictly from a ratings perspective. We will also have to do you know, and make content and put it up, which we feel is probably helping us build a perception, which in any case is a big promise that we’ve made to the consumer.
Plans for any finite shows?
We will see. Very Honestly, I think, post September is when the MRP numbers will all pop out and seem to settle. I think biologically never fair degree of idea in terms of where we’re going with this whole thing, andwill then take a call.
Why did you feel that Sony SAB needed a brand refresh?
We now have to embark on a new purpose. The new purpose is to make sure that we help the consumer making him the protagonistyou know, to kind of deliver a little bit of happiness. You know,to himand to others, because, you know, we very firmly believe that
We have a position like nobody else’s and which I’ve always said with a lot of pride that we are the ‘meetha’in the entire mix. And that is something that not everybody can say. And in today’s multi-channel, multi-network reality, to be able to stand for something and to be able to stand apart, I think this is something that not too many brands can claim.
So, I think it’s, it’s only an enhancement of the promise that we’ve made to ourselves and to our consumers. In fact, its promise we’ve taken on, a lot more on ourselves in terms of, what we stand for, and we cannot fall to from where we are, which means that we have to be even more mindful in terms of what we curate what we create and what we finally put up.
How do you feel Sony SAB has made itself relevant apart fromTarak Mehta which isin another league altogether?
Tarak Mehta is a legacy product. It’s there, but it does a lot. It adds a lot to all the values that we have as a brand. It’s a large part of that by itself, but whether it is Tenaliwith the values and the wit and the fun that the show delivers to Aladdin, which is his journey, in terms of his father’s redemption to the relationship he has with his mother. Or to a show like Jijaji, which hasa bunch of great actors, mad and crazy fun. I think, we’ve always applieda very nice, interesting, fun filter without really being preachy. Our job is not to be preachy.Very clearly, I think what we’ve set for ourselves is to be able to tell good stories, entertaining stories,and in a way that the consumer leads.
Importance of Slice of life and Comedy?
Yes, they are very important for us.
And how about Sitcoms?
So we’ve moved away from sitcoms but character driven stories are essentially what we like. Characters which have a linear arc. We’ve moved away from sitcoms and hit and misses, because they get very plot dependent. Certain plots are good, certain plots cannot be good. We moved away from creating that to linear characters with the much longer arc with their own journeys, with their own flaws of possible which are quirky and fun filled. But more importantly, we try to make our characters now more relatablemore real, glorious, and characters that people hopefully will inherently begin to like.
With reach going down with the New Tariff Order and time spent going up, what is the business response that you’ve received?
I think advertisers over a period of time very quickly will have to learn this reality.I think reach in any case will only link back to some level of normalcy, you will never have a situation which was prevalent earlier, simply because not a single home has the same amount of channels that it had earlier. And this is the practical reality. Nobody’s going to pay that kind of money for 450-500 channels anymore.
In all our own homes, we’ve seen that difference. And we’re not very different to everybody else. So reach will never be what it was. It’s not bad. I think limping back to normalcy.
But I think the time spent will have to become a very, very important measure of who’s watching and how much, but like I said, it’s a new reality, it’s a new matrix. It’ll take time for people to see this, and appreciate it, but it’s a great time for us togo back to advertisers since we are still delivering so many eyeballs, and be able to take our rates up. This means that the industry is able tonot just be profitable but also to make sure that we end up delivering better content.
Earlier you spoke about how certain shows on other channels have more of female viewership. So what sort of gender ratio do we have on Sony SAB?
Well, very surprisingly, very youthful, very youth focused, my biggest segment is 15 to 21, which is which is huge; Male, Female AB 15 to 21 which is followed by a very large chunk of Males and Females in the age group of 30 to 40.
The age group from 40 to 50 is also a segment which is growing not only before us, but for all GECs too. A large chunk of people also doing a lot of GC channels but we clearly seem to be emerging as the youthful alternative. Very clearly I think Alladin has led a lot of this and Jijajivery honestly. So it’s not what it used to be earlier. We are seeing a complete change in the kind of people watching us.
Khushiyon wali feeling captures the simple happiness and motivates everyone to spread happiness. What was the insight behind the campaign?
I thinkone simple insight that came out of the various meetings that Sony SAB dekhkeachalagtahai(feels nice to watch Sony SAB). Now that ‘acha’ has many dimensions, somebody said, “tensionkhathamhojatahai” (tensions get over).That kind of a thing,which meant very clearly that we were sitting on a very, very big insight and the brand was being able to deliver on a very big promise. All we had to do was articulate it in a way that connects well, so it was almost a readymade insight.