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SonyLIV to localise more original content to cater to viewers from the Indian heartland

SonyLIV had an event 2017 and 2018 started on a good note for the online streaming entity. As per the App Annie data report, it doubled its million monthly active users (MAU) by adding 7.9 million viewers, taking the total to 15.6 million in February 2018. This meant it occupied the third position after YouTube, which had 178.1 million MAUs and Hotstar with 48.1 million MAUs, respectively. The App Annie ranking is a combination of iOS App Store and Google Play Store.
Talking about this exponential growth, Uday Sodhi, executive VP and head, digital business, ‎Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India, said, “With an expected increase in digital consumption of over 500 million mobile users in the next two to three years, the OTT and the broadcast industries are creating a wealth of content to appeal to varied audiences. We’ve experienced high numbers in viewership not only for cricket but also for WWE, football, tennis, UFC and any more. We showcase almost 3,000 – 4,000 live games every year and we are the home of football with 3000+ hours of football action. So besides the standard fare of films and shows, we believe in 360-degree entertainment.”
Early on, SonyLIV saw the opportunity for catch-up television content and realised it would be a huge driver for consumption. The company, therefore, focused on delivering diverse content to entertain its audiences across the country.
“According to the 2011 census, 75% of urban population is already on the internet compared to 32% of rural population. As pioneers in this business, we understood that there is high demand for content in regional markets and this clearly indicates that the next wave of internet users will come from rural markets,” stated Sodhi.
Currently, 22% of SonyLIV’s viewership comes from the Indian heartland, and it sees this number growing rapidly over the next two to three years. It aims to create more original content and localise it.
“We at SonyLIV believe that we will be wherever our audience is. Hence, to enhance viewership and to make content available across the board, we have strategic partnerships with Xaomi MI TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV Ola and more. Our content is device agnostic and our aim is to reach out to as many viewers across India,” Sodhi added.
The OTT market is primarily driven by short format and snackable content. SonyLIV currently has 70 originals shows and over 30000+ hours of content. Some of its popular shows are Lovebytes 2, Yolo, Kacho Papad Pako Papad and short films like Mukti and The Gift. It plans to invest in original short film content and independent content creators to extend its library.

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