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SonyLIV to enter Originals race, get fresh look by next year

The focus will be on Hindi content and then regional, says Saugata Mukherjee.

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MUMBAI: The over-the-top media game is just heating up and Sony Pictures Networks is all set to revamp its digital platform SonyLIV by next year. It will roll out a few new originals in another six-eight months in both Hindi and regional languages.

SonyLIV is an ad-based video-on-demand platform in the OTT space and majorly runs the content that is being broadcasted on its network television channels across genres.

SonyLIV’s head - original content Saugata Mukherjee, during an exclusive chat with indiantelevision.com, says: “By next year or so, there is a plan to re-launch SonyLIV. Our focus is to bring some of the real variety on the platform and to get to work with really interesting filmmakers and storytellers.”

He adds: “We have on board some filmmakers and some of our originals are already in production. And hopefully, we shall have enough slate to talk about by the end of this year.”

The OTT space has received an overwhelming response from the individual audience for the extraordinary and out-of-the-box content that is being produced and shown on the digital platforms. US-based Netflix and Amazon being leaders in the market, dominate the space.

Mukherjee, highlighting the content strategy of the platform, says: “We are going to invest a lot on Hindi original content and step two would be to invest in Southern language content such as Tamil and Telugu. However, right now the focus is on the Hindi content and then the regional.”

“Data gives us a lot of numbers and drives us towards the south,” says the SonyLIV head. “If there’s a big skew in the south, we need to cater to that. And thankfully, we have real-time data, which clearly points out that we have a great piece of an audience in the southern part of the country.”

Out of four broadcaster-led OTT platforms, Zee Enterprises’ ZEE5 and Star India’s Hotstar have already entered the game of originals along with the content they broadcast on television. However, the other two – Network18’s Voot and Sony Pictures’ SonyLIV – are yet to embark on their original content journey.

Voot, however, is all set to begin the journey in another a month’s time, as confirmed by the platform’s head Gourav Rakshit during an exclusive chat with indiantelevision.com. “We are set to launch at least four new originals in Hindi within the next 30-45 days,” he said. The platform earlier in January has turned itself to subscription video-on-demand from ad-based video-on-demand.

According to Mukherjee, it’s been two years since the proliferation of OTT has happened and it’s just a start. He believes there’s enough space for everyone just like there’s space on television for Sony, Zee, and Star. They have their own set of audience and running a successful business for so many years now, he explains.

“Unlike other OTT platforms, the good part of the broadcaster-led OTTs is that they are already sitting on a huge amount of content they have produced and realised the importance of IPs created by them,” he says.

“The good thing about SonyLIV is that we have some marquee sports properties this year such as Tokyo Olympics, Euro Cup, and we plan to monetise them really well. Since we have a strong cohort and ardent subscribers here, we need to take care of them by making original content,” Mukherjee concludes.

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