For TV to stay relevant, there needs to be a balance between what we think consumers want to watch and the rating reality: Neeraj Vyas, Sony SAB
Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB Sony SAB
Sony SAB entered the mythology segment with its new show, Dharm Yoddha Garud

For TV to stay relevant, there needs to be a balance between what we think consumers want to watch and the rating reality: Neeraj Vyas, Sony SAB

Sony SAB entered the mythology segment with its new show, Dharm Yoddha Garud
  • Sony SAB announced that it is entering the mythology genre with its new show Dharm Yoddha Garud.
  • We speak to Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB on the new show, how the channel has been doing, advertiser response since the pandemic and how the channel plans to keep offering content relevant to its audience.
It was in 2019 that Sony SAB refreshed its brand identity to ‘Khushiyon Wali Feeling’, in an attempt to come across as an enabler of happiness in its consumer’s lives. The TV channel wanted to stand for a larger purpose in life, that of making people happy through their offerings. Almost 3 years down the line, the philosophy seems to have worked in its favor.

Sony SAB has been at Number 2 in the Hindi speaking market for 8 months now. It has been consistently trying to come up with relatable content, in an attempt to go beyond the perception that Hindi GECs are only about family dramas and ‘saas bahu’ daily soaps. It is also trying to change the perception that it is only a comedy channel.

As a part of this attempt, Sony SAB has announced the launch of its latest show, its foray into mythological with ‘Dharm Yoddha Garud’. Speaking about the show, Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB said, “The mythology space is completely untested for us. However, for the last few years, we have tried to come up with content that is relevant, and that will add some meaning to our viewer’s lives. While getting into the mythology space, we could easily have done something on Krishna, Ganesh or Hanuman. But we have always endeavored at doing things that have never been done before. Garud’s story had been playing on our minds for a long time. We took almost a year to research on it. We knew it would need a lot of technology and only when we had all the pieces together, we decided to go ahead with it.” The show which has used state-of-the-art technology and visual effects is the most expensive show that the channel has ever commissioned, Vyas shared.

While Sony SAB is perhaps most know for its most popular show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (which is also one of the longest running daily comedies in the world, with over 3398 episodes), in the past few years, the GEC has tried to come up with more differentiated content including shows like Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey, Shubh Laabh, Aapke Ghar Mein, Ziddi Dil – Maane Na, Maddam Sir, Sab Satrangi, Goodnight India.

“We at Sony SAB are dedicated at promoting an enjoyable family-viewing experience and can truly define ourselves as a true blue ‘living room brand’, because we ensure there is something that can appeal to everyone in the family,” explained Vyas. When asked how they are tackling the fight for attention at a time when OTT is coming up with such a huge variety of content, again for consumers of all age and demographies, Vyas said, “If TV has to stay relevant and competitive, we will have to balance between what we think the consumer wants to see and the rating reality. We will have to work a lot harder and go beyond the routine offerings of love stories and ‘saas bahu’ dramas. We will have to invest a lot more because today it is all about the quality of content you offer your viewers.”

Advertiser response, however, Vyas shares has been very positive. “We bounced back from the doom and gloom of the first four months of the year pretty well. In fact, the last six to seven months have been superb from an advertising point of view probably because the channel has done very well,” shared Vyas adding that from an advertising revenue point of view, by the end of March, the channel would have grown by almost 70% over last year.

The channel has always given a lot of importance to listening to its consumers and crafting content around what they want to watch. On what his focus areas will be going ahead, Vyas shared, “A strong communication strategy will be an important focus for us. As we get into April-May, we will be coming up with a very large consumer campaign that will focus on imprinting our unique brand philosophy into the minds of our consumers. And now that the pandemic is almost over, we will also stay a lot more focused on going out and talking to consumers a lot more aggressively to get a first hand feel of what's happening in their lives. We haven’t been able to do that for a while now but that is the plan for the future. And we will just get leaner and smarter from here.”