Sports fans power 35-40% of traffic on SonyLiv


MUMBAI: Contrary to popular opinion, SonyLiv is attracting a significant quantum of viewership courtesy its base of hardcore sports fans. Despite a concerted effort to provide entertainment across genres, sporting events have managed to pull in the eyeballs for the over-the-top (OTT) player in spite of the fickle nature of the audience.

At present, more than a third of SonyLiv’s traffic is garnered by its sporting properties. Sony Pictures Network EVP and head of digital business Uday Sodhi says, “35 to 40 per cent of our traffic is from hardcore sports followers. This shoots up during large sporting events and then the share gets bigger. Time spent varies from 25 minutes to 40 minutes for sports.”

Cricket is undoubtedly the first choice of Indians and that is reflective on SonyLiv, too. After cricket, football and WWE grab the attention of consumers the most. Big Bash League is one of the best T20 leagues outside India and it is getting more popular in India. Sodhi expects people to slowly warm up to this long-term property.

Going forward, the OTT platform will bet big on sports events. Talking about future plans, Sodhi says, “We run three sports television brands in India - Sony Six, Sony ESPN and Ten Sports. With these three brands, we have a strong sports network and we sport it in a big way on digital, therefore we are a large sports player on digital. The network is currently running India vs South Africa cricket series, Big Bash and from Monday will air Australian Open.”

The channel does a complete 360-degree coverage around sports that includes sports live, VOD, analysis and programming. “From our perspective, sports are a big part of SonyLiv and we will continue to get more and more rights for our users,” he adds. He also states that Sony’s digital platform is profitable.

On the entertainment front, SonyLiv released a short film ‘Ek Nayi Shuruaat’ in the new year. The platform is keen to syndicate short films from third parties. It is also giving the final touch to three Hindi web originals that will launch in February and March.

Sodhi expects more OTT players to join the fray in 2018 with focus on the regional market but he does not think consolidation will take place in the near future. Rather, the improvement in bandwidth will increase consumption on screen with increased adoption of Chromecast, Apple TV and regional media devices.

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