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SonyLIV aims for Tamil, Telugu markets with original-first strategy

The OTT platform is primarily targeting the 18-34 age group.

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MUMBAI: As content consumption in regional languages is going to be the next big thing, over-the-top platforms in India are expanding their footprint in every major market. SonyLIV, which already made its foray in other local markets, has now marked its entry in South India. With over 4000 hours of language content, the video-on-demand platform recently launched its service in Tamil and Telugu. Sony Picture Network India’s (SPNI) digital arm is primarily targeting the 18-34 age group and aims to make a difference with an original-first strategy.

Speaking about the market insights which led the platform to make this move, SPNI digital business head Uday Sodhi said 4G penetration and propensity to consume content is among the highest in these two markets. He noted that there are 80 million users in the South Indian market, out of the 300 million odd digital video market of the country who were not being served by SonyLIV.

“Also, beyond Hindi, Marathi, and Bengali, the next two big languages in terms of consumption is Tamil, Telugu, multiple reports we have seen seem to suggest that. Both the industries have a very strong film, TV industry, strong economy and therefore, large advertising ecosystems. So if you put all of that into place – great content, very engaged consumer, and monetisation ecosystem – it makes perfect sense to get into those markets,” Sodhi added.

While the platform has started with AVOD model, it will move to a subscription model too. Sodhi said that the service has national brands on board for now but is in the process of tying up with local brands.

The content catalogue currently includes 30-40 linear channels in both languages and over 300 movies in both the languages. Some Sony crime shows have been dubbed in Tamil and Telugu. As he shared, they are almost ready with three to five originals in both the languages and will be rolling out these originals from the month of June or July. He also said that SonyLIV has started acquiring the rights of movies in these languages.

“There is no concept of a latecomer in content. The content we are offering is unique. The market is at an early stage. Among all the broadcasters, we will have an original-first strategy in the South,” he noted.

According to him, SonyLIV has strategically invested in the new markets. Moreover, a lot of money has been pumped into digital commentary on sports available in Tamil and Telugu. Marketing would also take up a good size of money with digital being the focus. However, he also noted that outdoor marketing would not be ignored.

“This is a big market for us. The advantage now we have is to address a much larger population. This will help us increase our reach significantly,” he signed off.

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