‘People are ready to pay if the content is amazing’

Rashmi Pratap Mumbai | Updated on November 02, 2018

Uday Sodhi   -  THE HINDU



From Hindi and regional language content to sports and English entertainment, SonyLiv, the OTT platform of Sony Pictures Networks India, is aiming to be a one-stop entertainment app for viewers-on-the-go. SonyLiv has tied up with the American entertainment giant, Lionsgate to offer its premium original series to Indian viewers. BusinessLine caught up with Uday Sodhi, Business Head — Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India on the partnership, the progress of subscription-based model and the growth of English entertainment genre in India. Excerpts:

What makes this partnership important for you?

SonyLiv will be embedding Lionsgate Play, which is a global brand for premium content. It brings the best of international content to India, including some of the top shows. This is a big step forward for us as we have seen a significant growth in the S-VOD or subscription side of the business, and we want to strengthen it by expanding our content offering within that space.

But are Indian viewers ready to pay up for content?

It all depends on the quality of content. People are ready to pay if the content is amazing. That is the effort we are putting in. We are bringing in top quality international content to offer tremendous value for customers.

Do you think the low subscription rates in the country are sustainable?

Subscription rates in India have stabilised at ₹99 a month and it is the early days for subscription business. We are all looking at expanding the category right now. Even in China, the market started as a free model and once the business became big enough, consumers migrated very quickly towards subscription. We will see that migration in India too and soon.

How do you think this Lionsgate tie-up will improve your viewership base as well as the amount of time spent on your platform?

The quality of shows and the hundreds of hours of top quality shows will bring premium audience on SonyLiv and increase the time spent as these are binge viewing shows that run into multiple seasons and are popular. Across social media, most of our audience are glued to the best of international content, and they have an amazing fan following on social media. I think this is great content for us.

Why are partnerships crucial in the industry?

It is critical for us to bring the best of content from across the world. It can come only with partnerships. We are one of the big players in the Indian OTT ecosystem and partnerships are a win-win for us as well as for our partners.

How is SonyLiv faring in the English entertainment genre?

SonyLiv is a fairly small player in the English content space with 30 to 40 million active monthly users. English is a fast- growing category for us and we have added a fair number of shows, and will continue to add more.

Given the cut-throat competition in the industry, do you think we will see consolidation?

I don’t think we are in a consolidation phase. Right now, the market is expanding at a fast pace and more players will get in.

Published on November 02, 2018

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