The year 2016 promises to be an action-packed one for the SAB Group. Manav Dhanda, Group CEO at Sri Adhikari Brothers Group of Companies tells us that the company is looking to double the number of channels it offers and launch its Hindi GEC, while betting big on Digital and undertaking a re-branding exercise
BY SIMRAN SABHERWAL
Q] How would you assess the performance of the SAB Group in 2015?
Through 2015, we formulated the launch pad on which our group is poised to elevate itself to the next level across various verticals, including broadcast, film production, film distribution, digital, creative services and publishing.
Q] Can you elaborate on each one of them?
From a broadcast viewpoint, 2015 was the most dynamic year ever, considering that rating parameters changed four times in 12 months. All through this, our overall performance has been fabulous with most of our channels ranking in top three in their respective genres. We would definitely call 2015 as the year of Mastiii as Mastiii has been an unchallenged Number 1 for the entire year in the music and youth genre. Be it TAM, BARC Household, Individual or Rural, Mastiii is the only channel across music genres that has held its leadership with a consistent 40% to 60% greater viewership than the Number 2 channel. In a 16-channel category, where almost 100% content is duplicable, our performance has set an astonishing benchmark.
Dabangg has been a consistent Number 1 in UP & Bihar. Maiboli has already proved its capability by outrunning Star Pravah for a bit in the recent past and has already been beefed up to take it to the next level. We launched Dillagi early last year as India’s 1st LC1 (towns with less than one lakh population) channel endorsing our vision for the changing dynamics with rural inclusion.
Q] You have also made an entry into ad film production and the film business...
Our entry into the film business was with the third part of the Grand Masti series and now we have nine movies in the pipeline with leading actors and directors of the industry. We also ventured into the distribution business with the youth cult Pyaar Ka Punchanama 2 which did stupendous numbers at the box office. We also have a creative services cell, Katalyst Creates, which in its very first year bagged several projects including the recent TVC of Flying Machine featuring Arjun Kapoor, film trailer campaign design for the sequel of a popular movie. It has also done branding and packaging for a soon-to-be launched HD channel and several organizations’ logo design and animation work. Our publication vertical – Governance Now - has successfully executed over three dozen events including the third series of the PSU awards.
Q] What have been the learnings from the last year?
Positions cannot be taken for granted and it is imperative to stay one step ahead of the game. While speed in execution remains the key, differentiation and detail in execution always come out tops. My biggest learning has been that the winning game comes in working with a young, dynamic, eager to prove team versus just resting on the laurels of achievers who know more about the past and less of the future. Someone rightly said that “experts only know how it was done in the past. The future has to be written differently”.
At work, we have also systematically designed triggers to maintain a fun work environment and the learning has been biggest here – a happy team thinks more creatively and delivers far more pro-actively and efficiently.
Q] What are the challenges in staying differentiated in a space where the content is similar?
Well, actually there is no challenge. Greatness always lies in doing the basics right, which is, knowing the consumer well. We constantly research the consumer, and interpret the insights accurately enough to serve what they need.
Q] What are you doing to drive digital growth?
Digital is definitely the buzzword. Lots are happening in Digital and top dollar is being pumped in to create bigger and better content. Our strategy for highly differentiated, clearly defined content with an identified TG to go after is well in place and the execution towards its launch is under way and due within the first quarter of 2016.
Q] What is your growth strategy for 2016? Are there any new channel launches being planned? What are your plans for the launch of your flagship channel?
Being an industry leader with over 25 years of market presence and understanding viewers better than anyone else, we are now indulging in a re-branding exercise for our corporate as well as individual channel logos. Our rebranding principally focuses on positioning ourselves as a ‘Young, Contemporary, Bright & Youthful’ brand. Therefore our new channel logos are specifically tuned to be in line with our positioning. We are a five-channel network and we look forward to becoming a 10-channel network, one of which would be a major Hindi GEC. This would make us one of the top broadcasting networks in the industry.