'Vibrant' Sony Entertainment refreshes with new shows; ESPN to localise global shows

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures (SPN)'s general entertainment channel Sony Entertainment (SET), celebrating 21st anniversary, has carved a new brand identity and is undertaking a fresh look at programming to bolster its viewership base and build continuous viewing.

Now taking on new colours of purple, gold and orange, the new on-air display of SET is a plan to build a striking visual appeal for the Indian audience. The channel had a few years ago modified its packaging to convey content innovation and creative vision.Since 2015, however, SET has been trying hard to connect with viewers as it kept slipping on BARC reviews owing to the poor performance of its shows. SET was then highly dependent on Crime Patrol and CID, the Financial Express reported.

Sony Entertainment Television recently peaked to number three in the Hindi GEC urban ratings chart on BARC India with Mahabali Hanuman, The Kapil Sharma Show, Super Dancer and Kuch Rang Pyar ke Aise Bhi doing quite well.

The positioning SET plans to adopt is ‘When a relationship turns into partnership, life looks up and leaps forward’, and this is what it will reflect through its programming going ahead.

Its primary focus area will be to bolster the weekday line-u. The new strategy is to expand the programming hours from the existing 8-11pm to 7pm-12 midnight by bringing in new shows such as Moh Moh ke Dhaage and Peshwa Bajirao, among other.

In a bid to offer localised and differentiated content, ESPN, which operates in India as Sony ESPN, meantime is planning to customise its international shows such as SportsCenter’ and ‘Pardon the Interruption’ for the Indian market. ESPN at present offers the international version of ‘Pardon the Interruption’, a sports show compered by commentators Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on Sony ESPN.

ESPN is also aiming to bring X Games to India, an annual sports event which focuses on action sports such as snowboarding and skateboarding. The US-based ESPN re-entered India in January 2016 and jointly launched new sports channels, a multi-sports website and a mobile app in partnership with Sony Pictures Networks.

The Indian sports sector is undergoing a sea change with a hike in viewership, sponsorship and participation in sports other than cricket as per a a report titled ‘The Business of Sports’, from consulting firm KPMG and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Sports sponsorship market in 2015 grew approximately 12% from a year ago to reach Rs 5,190 crore, the report stated.

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