Television

Sony Pictures Networks India turns 25

MD & CEO NP Singh wrote a special letter to thank SPN’s members for their constant support

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MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has completed 25 years in the country, and to commemorate the silver jubilee, SPN MD and CEO NP Singh penned a special letter to thank SPN’s members for accompanying them on this journey.

On 8 October 1995, when the Indian broadcast industry was still taking baby steps, Sony ventured into the Indian market with the launch of Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC), Sony Entertainment Television.

“From one channel, bit by bit, we became a 24-channel network with a digital OTT service SonyLlV, a film production arm, SPN Productions, and a content creation studio, Studio NEXT,” wrote Singh about the network’s growth trajectory.

The company has steadily grown over the years to an employee count of around 1,200, with its services available across 167 countries and reaching over 700 million viewers. “Today, Sony Pictures Networks, is among the top entertainment and sports networks in the country, recognised as an employer of choice within and outside the media fraternity,” he wrote.

Singh then touched upon the biggest gamble he took in his career: entering into uncharted territory with the Indian Premier League (IPL). This move came at a time when cricket leagues were unheard of. But his bet paid off in a big way. The network moulded IPL into one of the most valuable sports entertainment properties in the country.

Challenging the status quo has always been in SPN’s DNA, he wrote further. “Creating category firsts over the years stands out when I look back. After the launch of SET in 1995, came the launch of Sony MAX in 1999. It was a one of its kind channel that offered to our viewers blockbuster Hindi movies, cricket and special events. This created a unique and unparalleled three-pronged channel identity which has not been replicated since. Some of India's most iconic entertainment properties that have stood the test of time have been from the SPN stable.”

Singh went on to highlight how SPN has always observed fiscal discipline, writing: “We have invested where we expected a strong strategic and economic value and exited from properties which appeared unviable over the longer term.” This included launching SAB in 1995, Sony Max in 1999, and then acquiring TEN Sports, Sony Aath, and the launch of kids channel Sony YAY!. They also forayed into the regional space with Sony Marathi.

In the early years, Singh realised that digital needed to be the cornerstone of the network’s strategy. In 2013, SPN became the first broadcaster in the country to launch an OTT platform – SonyLIV. “I am confident of its bright future,” affirmed Singh.

He elaborated on the subject of SPN’s collaboration with international players and how it has set the network apart from its competition. “We have forged a strong partnership with BBC Worldwide to launch a very successful premium factual entertainment channel, Sony BBC Earth. Our long-standing partnerships with some of the biggest names in the world of sport including WWE, NBA, Cricket Australia, ECB and Sri Lanka Cricket, bring live content to our viewers in India.”

When it comes to a fair and inclusive workplace, SPN has been recognised by the industry as one of India’s Great Places to Work, said Singh, adding: “We envision a company where in the next five years, 50 per cent of our workforce will be women, people with disabilities or from the LGBT+ community.”

Though only time will tell what shape or form the company will take in future, Singh is determined to ensure that SPN only goes from strength to strength.

He stated: ‘It’s been an eventful journey of 25 years and we have come a long way. We will continue to go all out and live up to our corporate ethos of ‘Go-Beyond’, not just in name but in action and spirit.”

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