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Uday Sodhi bets long on short films on SonyLiv

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MUMBAI: We like it short. That’s the message that subscribers of SonyLiv from Sony Pictures Networks India have been telling the programming team. Led by CEO Uday Sodhi, it noticed that its four to five million subs were rapidly lapping up its portfolio of 500 short films which were on offer to them. What was pleasantly surprising was that watch time for these shorts had rapidly grown to around 10 per cent of the total on the OTT service in just one and a half year since these were introduced.

Thus to further encourage engagement and stickiness, the team unvieled a new bunch of 50 short films last week on the app. Cherry picked from Mumbai-based content and aggregator and distributor Pocket Films’ catalogue, which included a clutch of award winning shorts, its offering has swelled to 550 now.

Says Sodhi: “Short films on SonyLiv are a very large category. We keep looking in the market to see where good quality short films are available so that we can offer a good range to our regular visitors. We have selected the top films based on their quality of content, which are award winning and critically acclaimed. Also a few films have the film festival touch in them.”

Among some of the more popular short film titles viewers can now snack or binge watch include: the Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Tejaswini Kolhapure starrer film Salt N Pepper, Tubelight ka Chand by Anurag Kashyap, sSknoia Waapasi, Umbrella, Living is Easy, Gotya, Lori, Aachor, Destiny’s Two, Viola, Kundli, ABC, Smothered, Girl in Red, Love Pichkaari, Watermelon, A Gentle Giant, The Break Up, Laugh, Aakhri Sawari, Rishtey, Kite, Aai, Anjaan, and Bhopal Diaries.

Sodhi was loathe to reveal the deal that SonyLiv had signed with Pocket Film, saying that it is a private commercial transaction between the two. However, sources reveal that Pocket Films which is among the leading aggregators of short films and videos on Youtube, has probably struck a revenue share deal with SonyLiv.

All that Pocket Films CEO and founder Sameer Mody is willing to say was that he was happy to partner with SonyLiv and that he was hopeful that the association will help “us widen the reach of our offering.”

Sodhi, on his part however, is quite confident that viewership of short films on SonyLiv will head in only in one direction: northwards, though he was not willing to bet by how much.
Says he: “We believe that digital cinema can be told in different lengths. On digital, we have found that a lot of consumption happens in the 20-40 minutes range. It is an exciting form of storytelling to tell a story in this length.”

That kind of consumption would make any OTT business head smack his chops.

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