Two years ago, when SET Sab was first launched, nobody gave the channel much of a chance. That`s because Sab TV had come at a time when Zee, Star Plus and Sony were riding high.
Sri Adhikari brothers started Sab TV channel. The channel is now a part of Sony Entertainment network. Sab TV was launched as a comedy-centric channel. But the new avtar of this channel was relaunched in the year 2006 with a new, refreshing feel and look and is now a general entertainment channel. The channel targets the age group between 25 to 45 years of age. Their aim is to provide an optimistic view of the ordinary man`s everyday life, through their new bouquet of mass variety content. They claim to offer viewers a source of relaxation and a refreshing break from the mundane channels. The most popular shows are Yes Boss, Chupke Chupke, Wah Wah!!! and Aaj Ke Shrimaan Shrimati. SAB TV is part of the SET -Discovery`s One Alliance bouquet comprising channels such as MTV, Nick, Animax, Discovery Travel & Living, and NDTV. Sab tv also airs Bollywood movies every weekend.
Now, Sab TV is all for the New Age India. On May 2007 Sab TV, threw a party to announce its new age programming for the younger audiences. Along with two new shows, Love Story and Four; the channel announced the comeback of Left Right Left, MMW, Yes Boss and FIR in a new avatar.
In the year 2004 Sab TV had also filed an intervention application in the ESPN-Star Sports petition against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the Bombay High Court because of non-payment of taxes by ESPN.
Sony had tremendous interests in buying the SAB channel but Sony`s Chief Executive officer of Sony was not was not totally convinced that buying Sab TV would be the right step. The fear was that while Sony was seen as the female and family-focused channel, with Sab TV, they would get a male-skewed audience in the Hindi heartland. Later in 2004 Adhikari officially declared that the broadcasting division of SABTNL would be transferred to a subsidiary company. Sony and SABTNL were locked in negotiations, but Adhikari was contesting on valuation. He was also more interested in Sony picking up equity in Sab TV as it would add value to the company and the stock would get a big boost. The bottom line- Sony`s immediate challenge is to grow in more audiences for Sab TV. Already showing movies on weekends, Sony plans to position Sab TV as a "humour and light entertainment" channel without deviating from its male skew audience base. Reality and game shows are also being lined up, though a complete fix on the channel`s programming will be finalized in the next few months. The channel has already shifted to PanAmSat 10 and is being offered as part of One Alliance`s second pay bouquet. Set India is now in full control of SAB TV. With the re-launch of SAB TV as a general entertainment channel, SET has decided to expand its bouquet in the television space and reach out to a different target audience - the heartland of India. SAB came into Sony`s bouquet with certain advantages. It had got its own niche with a non-metro focus with adequate distribution and had its share of loyal male viewers who preferred such comedy shows. Besides, segmenting the audience will also help SAB in attracting advertisers looking out to reach a particular target audience.
The new `improved` SAB started with a new prime-time special - Lo Kal`lo Baat - an improvised comedy show, which requires its participants to be spontaneous, witty and creative and enact skits impromptu. Its other recent prime time show, a daily soap, Maahi Ve, is an emotional saga of family relationships and rediscovering the joy of getting back to one`s roots. The soap captures the rustic ethos of North India, its traditions, culture and values. Certain old shows were repositioned. For instance, Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai had a new anchor in Rageshwari, while Wah Wah, based on comic poets, was repositioned as a `classy and glamorous` show. It moved out of the studio and involved a live audience.
SAB is also launching a Hindi TV channel - Mi Marathi - that will focus on general entertainment. SAB TV also announced that it is introducing a daily one-hour show of news and election analysis anchored by some of the leading journalists. The analysis will be in English for three days and in Hindi for four days. This analysis continued on SAB TV until the launch of the Group`s 24 hour Current Affairs and News Channel, Janmat.
The tables have fully turned now with Sab TV running a neck-and-neck race with Zee TV behind Star Plus and Sony. A lot of Sab TV`s success has to do with comedy - a potential no other channel has exploited. Serials like Office Office, Yes Boss, Public Hai Sab Janti Hai, Akting Akting and others have all ensured regular clicks for the channel. Especially Office Office. The serial has created a landmark by winning 14 top awards - six for best comedy and four for best actor to Pankaj Kapoor.