Blog: Sony Sab emerges as India's number one GEC, parent Sony Entertainment comes next
The author reflects on Sony Sab's move to the top of the GEC pile and states what has gone right for the channel
Nov 12, 2019 09:36:00 AM | Article | Sandeep Goyal
For the past two weeks, TV rankings in the GEC genre have seen a new, and perhaps some would say, unlikely winner: Sony Sab TV. In both Week 43 and Week 44 of the BARC ratings, the largely humour driven channel from the Sony stable stole a march over all its competitors in the key urban India market, leaving the media fraternity as surprised as when Dangal TV emerged as the GEC leader some months ago. What was even more joy for the Sony owners perhaps was the additional good news that the parent channel Sony Entertainment Television (SET) came an honourable second in the overall rankings in urban India pushing the usual leader Star Plus to third place in both weeks.
Dangal TV retained its massive lead over all other GEC channels, retaining the No.1 spot in rural India, with Big Magic at a distant second place. Zee TV, Star Plus, SONY SAB were next in the rankings. Erstwhile leader Star Bharat fared poorly at No. 8 with impressions that were hardly 15% of the leader Dangal.
Top Channels – Rural
*HSM Rural Weekly Impressions (000s) sum,
The enduring loyalty of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
The Gokuldham society based Taarak Mehta show based on a journal -“Duniya ne oondha chashmah” has been running non-stop since 2008 on SAB. Its peculiar, yet unique brand of humour has a middle-class charm. It has built up a loyal and unwavering audience that consistently finds entertainment on the show. For SAB, Oolta Chashmah has been its most valuable money-spinner over the years. The show has remained in the GEC Top 10 almost for all of the past decade.
In fact, the show topped the GEC charts way back in 2010. TAM statistics at that time showed a viewership split of about 33.4 per cent from the age group of 35+. Another 32.4 per cent viewers were in the age group of 4-14 years; whereas 18.8 per cent and 15.3 per cent of the rest of the viewership for the show came from the age groups of 15-24 years and 25-34 years. So, Oolta Chashmah has been, and still remains an all-family favourite, a claim very few programmes can justify.
Content is King on SAB
Sab’s one big strength over the years has been some really great shows that glued audiences to the channel: Office-Office, Lapataganj, F.I.R., Left-Right-Left, Yes Boss, Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo, R.K. Laxman Ki Duniya, Chidiya Ghar, Jugni Chali Jalandhar ... are all shows that left their mark on audiences in the Hindi heartland and are fondly recalled and remembered even today.
Even the current line-up has shows like Jijaji Chhat Per Hain which is running for the past two years to an ever-increasing audience base. The content is differentiated; more importantly, the content vibes well across the entire family. This creates enduring loyalty for the programmes and a ‘SAB genre’ that no other GEC has been able to fully replicate.
Some of the credit for shaping the channel to what it is today must also go to the erstwhile owners, the Shri Adhikari Brothers (SAB) who spotted humour as a genre ahead of competitors and believed that it could attract and retain audiences. F.I.R., Office-Office and Yes Boss had almost become cult programmes during the time that they aired.
SONY SAB - TOP PROGRAMMES
Aladdin - Naam Toh Suna Hoga (2018–)
Apna News Aayega (2019–)
Baal Veer Returns (2019–)
Jijaji Chhat Per Hain (2018–)
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (2008–)
Tenali Rama (2017–)
Tera Kya Hoga Alia (2019–)
Sony TV had three shows in the Top 10 this last week ... The Kapil Sharma Show, Kaun Banega Crorepati and Indian Idol (Ranks 5,6 and 8) in HSM Urban. Colors led the rankings with Choti Sardarni but had no other programme in the Top 10. Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma took third place for SAB, Star Plus had Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai in Rank 4, while Yeh Jaadu Hai Jinn Ka was at Rank 9. Zee TV had three shows too at Ranks 2, 7 and 10 with the evergreen Kundali Bhagya leading for the channel.
It is all the more creditable therefore for SONY SAB that it has topped in Urban India with just one show amongst the front-runners.
For Sony Entertainment, the fickleness of its rankings can be seen in its dependence on shows that are seasonal. The Kapil Show, KBC and Indian Idol operate from one season to another. There is no continuing fiction winner in its current line-up. Which makes its second rank somewhat unsustainable in the long run.
Well done Sony Sab!
It is not easy to steal the crown from the likes of Star Plus. SONY SAB deserves a pat on the back. But one will closely watch this space to see if SAB continues to retain its hard earned leadership or not. For now, it must be a good feeling to be No. 1. Well guys, go enjoy! And celebrate.
Dr. Sandeep Goyal was Group CEO of Zee Telefilms Ltd. way back in 2002-2003.