SonyLIV keen to woo more women watchers

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2019 Published on January 27, 2019

Plans to tap regional and non-metro markets in a big way

SonyLIV, the OTT platform of Sony Pictures Networks India, is planning to increase its female viewership base, tap into the non-metro markets, and expand beyond the Hindi-language market. It also sees potential to increase its consumption from the current 45 minutes per user per day to around 150 minutes over the next few quarters.

“We are getting into this space where we will see new markets emerging. Two big markets are going to open up, which will drive consumption in the year ahead. One is female viewership...and the second is regional markets and non-metro markets; so the growth is going to come from there. And for that, we will have to build and bring in content for these two markets,” Uday Sodhi, Business Head-Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India, told BusinessLine.

Sodhi said that female viewership on OTT platforms is currently privy to a lag in general. For SonyLIV, the current female viewership is 30-35 per cent, and it is planning to bring in more female-centric content to address this.

To leverage sports

“What we are setting ourselves to do is seeing how we can expand beyond our traditional markets. Our traditional strong markets have been metros and the Hindi belt, and with sports, we have a pan-Indian presence. So we want to now start thinking how we can use our presence in sports to go beyond the Hindi markets with entertainment content,” said Sodhi. Non-metros reflected a higher growth rate in digital consumption as compared to the metros; Lucknow, Indore, Patna and Jaipur surfaced as major growth centres, stated the ‘State of Digital Entertainment 2018’ report that SonyLIV unveiled on Friday.

It is planning to introduce ‘originals’ in other regional languages, as the focus till now has been on Hindi originals alone. This will be done for tapping into the non-metro markets as well. “Next year may not be so much of a number growth than really a consumption growth…We will see a significant amount of fibre connectivity in the coming year. If fibre--to-home increases and fibre-to-small businesses increases, and Wi-Fi connectivity in small towns increases, then I think there will be significant change in the consumption patterns,” he said.

SonyLIV currently has a monthly active user base of around 50 million.

The company plans to add more smart TV partnerships. It is currently on Xiaomi, Samsung, Amazon Fire TV, Sony TV and Google Chromecast, among others.

Key investment area

Sodhi said SonyLIV is one of the most important investment areas for Sony Pictures. On whether the OTT platform will come in the way of Sony Pictures Networks’ business, he said: “Not at all. It’s an incremental business for us.”

This is even as he said that the viewership for Sony Pictures Networks is “better by far”. When asked whether there is any plan to reduce that gap, he said it will “naturally happen because the growth of the OTT business is much faster than the television, so that gap keeps reducing over a period of time.”

Published on January 27, 2019
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