iWorld

Reimagining SonyLIV: the story begins

The streamer is strategising its next moves to dominate the OTT side.

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2019/11/29/sony.jpg?itok=1DtPkbqe

MUMBAI: Way before international streaming giants entered the Indian over-the-top (OTT) market, Indian broadcast networks had already rolled out their digital offerings. Sony Pictures Networks India's (SPNI) digital arm SonyLIV - one of the early-movers in the “streaming race”, is now undergoing transformation under a new leadership team. While its business has largely been driven by advertising revenues and catalogue offerings till now, the streamer is all set to increase its focus on subscription and original content.

Led by digital veteran Uday Sodhi for around half a decade, SPNI rejigged its team, plonking in old-time SPNI executive Danish Khan to lead it, adding to his responsibilities as business head of its leading GEC Sony Entertainment Television. Khan roped in the A-Team that works with him at SET, Ashish Golwalkar and Aman Srivastava, to also help him revitalise SonyLIV. Golwalkar, the content head at SET will now help build the streamers slate, while Srivastava, who steered the rebranding and positioning of SET, will also have the digital business marketing title on his visiting card. Amogh Dusad as head – programming and new initiatives, digital business has been given the mandate of strategic planning, operations, viewership management and analytics for SonyLIV.

Golwalkar says his experience at SET will help him steer the streamer’s content play well. “As we jokingly say that on SET, in any case, we make digital content. The digital traction of SET is very good because as a channel we are largely urban. We are focussed on metros and newer metros and the urban markets and digital growth is also happening here which very nicely coincides,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “In terms of learning, of course, it is a different medium. So we will have to evaluate the content basis that.”

“However, there are certain inherent aspects that we have as a network in terms of the ethos of content and the kind of people we talk to. I think we will take a lot of synergies from that piece and we will navigate those people who are already there on the network and look after how we navigate them to our own digital platform as opposed to them straying to some other OTT platforms. I think that’s going to be a challenge but I think we’ll do it,” he adds.

Golwalkar confesses that for any streamer the real traction for subscription is driven by premium sports or premium content and SonyLIV is going to play both. As the network already has premium sports properties, the major focus will be on originals for the next few months.  “Anyway, we did not have any significant original content play before this,” he says.

In terms of language, Hindi and English are going to be important languages, followed by Marathi and Bangla as SPNI already has linear television channels in those markets. The platform will also consider some of the south languages also.

“We already have Sony Pictures Television content, some of it is with other OTT platforms. So we will see how we can attract more studios and international content to SonyLIV, the talks are on. These relationships with the international studios are forged over many years. Some of the relationships we already have and some of them we intend to kind of build,” he comments on English content portfolio.

“We have just started SVOD last year. We started the relationship with Lionsgate which gives us almost 400-500 hours of content. Some of the bigger shows from their slate include Power, Anger Management, Sweetbitter. We strengthened our Hollywood offering with SPT content also. We believe that there is an audience for English content also. It has just been six to eight months into the journey.  I think we will continue to push and strengthen Hollywood offering,“ comments Amogh Dusad, another key person in the transformation.

“We are looking at the entire piece like a strong SVOD service coming and the idea is to be in touch with the consumers whether online or offline or on any social media or the basic consumptions on the app to ensure that what we show on the app  is in sync with his /her taste and preferences. And a lot of work is going to happen in the next two months,” Dusad adds.

The reason for the SVOD shift: with higher investment in originals and acquisition of premium TV content, reliance on just ad revenues is proving a challenge for Indian streamers. The subscription curve is growing at a faster clip than the ad revenue one, although the Indian market is going to remain an ad-led one as per experts. A recent KPMG report projects subscription revenue from OTT platforms to grow to Rs 22 billion in FY20 and Rs 62 billion by FY23.

“The insights tell you what are the triggers that get a person to start sampling the product and what is it that keeps the person as well. So what it helps especially for us is to design the consumer experience around that,” explains Srivastava. “So, one is an experience which is on the app, the other is the interaction with the brand outside the product as well. We will also have to work on is where do you get the consumers as insights will play a role where you find a like-minded set of audiences. All of these help in defining the consumer journey - some of who are on the platform, some of who are not on the platform and some who are not even aware of the platform. So we are going to work around all three sets of people using all kind of insights we get on or outside the platform.”

Is pricing going to stay put or will a new package be drawn up?

“Everything is up for change. As all were saying, all businesses go through a transformation, so SonyLIV, the digital business in SPN, is going through one such transformation and everything is up for discussion. What we are very sure is that we are going to shift the focus more towards subscription, currently, a large bulk of it is ad revenue. It’s a no-brainer that if anyone wants to have a play in this, we will have to drive subscription,” Golwalkar sums up.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/12/zee5.jpg?itok=MQAdrJpb
ZEE5 partners with FreeCharge

MUMBAI: ZEE5 - India’s largest ConTech brand, and FreeCharge – one of the leading digital platforms for financial services and products, have come together to give another reason for the audience to cheer this festive season. FreeCharge customers can now purchase a Zee5 subscription through the...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/11/hotstar.jpg?itok=B6tKXW7q
Hotstar decodes the online video consumer, unveils India Watch Report 2019

Technology changes swiftly. However, sometimes, the market receptiveness for these changes is even faster. Take for instance some of the revelatory insights thrown by the latest ‘India Watch’ report by Hotstar. Consider the fact that Lucknow, Pune and Patna consume more video data than Hyderabad,...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/09/amazon.jpg?itok=lFr93H1K
Amazon Prime Video to launch Amazon Original Series 'Hostel Daze' on 13 Dec

MUMBAI: Amazon Prime Video has announced the launch of its latest Amazon Original Series Hostel Daze, created by The Viral Fever (TVF). Marking the first association with Indian youth's much loved content provider, TVF, the five-part comedy-drama brings to life the adventures of four hostel wing-...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/07/Amazon_Prime-Video.jpg?itok=aO74Vin1
Amazon Prime Video starts festive month with popular titles

MUMBAI : Amazon Prime Video has started the festive month with an exciting selection of popular titles across Indian and International entertainment, including the returning seasons of two popular Amazon Original Series. Riding high on the phenomenal success of Season 1 and a momentous...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/07/Reed_Hastings_new.jpg?itok=ZTpBWhWv
Netflix to spend Rs 3000 crore on Indian content

Netflix is upping its India game significantly as the streaming giant is ready to spend Rs 3000 crore on Indian content for this year and the next. Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings spoke about the investment during his India visit on Friday while illustrating the country’s important in their...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/05/Airtel-Bharti%20Airtel.jpg?itok=lEUbfoXc
Bharti Airtel to raise up to $3 billion

The board of directors of telecom player Bharti Airtel Ltd approved the telecom operator’s proposal to raise up to $3 billion in account of the issue of overdue fees it owes the government.

iWorld Telecom
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/04/Netflix.jpg?itok=6gUsjdMn
Netflix available in more than 300 mn pay-TV households

MUMBAI: A new report from UK research firm Ampere Analysis has said that Netflix is available in more than 300 million pay-TV households. It also added that more than 50 million of those have come during 2019. The reach through Pay TV partnerships is almost double the company's current global...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/04/digital-media.jpg?itok=57evATmW
Esports, streaming wars, shopvertising to dominate digital media trends in 2020

Technology will continue to disrupt and reshape the digital media industry in 2020, presenting new opportunities and challenges for advertisers and media owners. While digital media will continue to grow globally, the coming of new technologies, platforms and digital touch points will force...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/12/03/tvf.jpg?itok=8LU2Lrwd
TVF launches new series ‘Cubicles’ in association with DSP Mutual Fund

MUMBAI: Walking its talk to launch new innovative shows, pioneers in digital content and entertainment, The Viral Fever along with leading asset management company, DSP Investment Managers Private Limited is all set to add a new original to its repertoire with the release of TVF Originals ‘Cubicles...

iWorld Over The Top Services

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories