SonyLIV's big-ticket shows have advertisers watching too

The platform has a strong line-up of content for next six months, including The Ashes, the West Indies tour of India and the 11th season of Kaun Banega Crorepati

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jul 19, 2019 8:36 AM

After the ICC World Cup, it is now The Ashes, the West Indies tour of India and the 11th season of the iconic show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) that digital media advertisers are trying to cash in on. While Hotstar is apparently the market leader in India among all digital streaming platforms with close to 45 per cent market share, according to media buyers and experts, SonyLIV is going to be the close second with a strong content line-up starting early next month.

According to Pranabir Singh, Director-Media Planning, at media agency DCMN, the upcoming cricket series and KBC are the “cash cow” for SonyLIV at the moment.

“OTT is a title driven platform and people watch the content or show they are loyal to. There is no platform loyalty. The upcoming cricket series and KBC are the cash cow for SonyLIV at the moment as all the shows have potential to draw huge viewership and thus a good return on investment for advertisers. SonyLIV now has the opportunity until the festive season to cash in on its tent-pole shows,” says Singh.

While access to maximum viewership is the priority for advertisers, ad rates have always been one of the major concerns for them. But SonyLIV seems to have addressed this concern too. According to media buyers, the platform is keeping its entry-level ad rates as low as anywhere between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh. Hotstar had done a similar thing at the time of ICC World Cup by rolling out new facilities for advertisers who start with a low barrier to make an entry. Brands were allowed to start advertising at a starting package of Rs 5 lakh.

“For digital media, it is not year-long commitments. It is sachet plans designed around a title and advertisers find OTT the most suitable platform to get associated with big titles in a cost-effective way. For the upcoming months, SonyLIV is undoubtedly the most sought after engagement platform for advertisers,” Singh says.

Before the tent-pole shows go on air, SonyLIV is actively promoting engagements to offer best returns to advertisers. Earlier this month, the platform announced the launch of India's first OTT gaming destination with over 100 exclusive show-based games, to be launched in a phased manner. With this move, they target to reach out to 50 million new users offering them a one-stop gaming destination. These games are curated around some of Sony Pictures Networks' biggest IPs across channels such as KBC, CID, Crime Patrol, The Kapil Sharma Show, Patiala Babes, Baalveer and Kicko & Super Speedo. The platform already has around 80-85 million active monthly users.

 Announcing the gaming initiative, Uday Sodhi, Business Head-Digital, Sony Pictures Networks India, had said, “India houses 10 per cent of the world’s gamers and this number is slated to rise exponentially. With the launch of our OTT gaming platform, we intend to trigger this target segment and capture the market to an extent of 50 million users. This falls in line with India’s OTT market share predictions, which is expected to triple its size in the next four years. Our database of 100+ games will cater to every generation of gamers that we aim to engage with through a plethora of events to capture their attention.”

Talking about how the move will benefit the platform, Amogh Dusad, Head-Content, Partnerships and New Initiatives, Sony Pictures Networks India, said, “At SonyLIV, we always try to push the envelope in user engagement by diversifying our offerings. The launch of our OTT gaming destination with absolute in-house expertise is a leap ahead in content innovations and ushering in an experience unexplored before on OTT. The multi-player video quiz and augmented reality format games also give our audience a chance to reconnect with their favourite shows and characters in a completely different and engaging context.”

 So, is the trend here to stay?

For the next 6 months, SonyLIV will be the most talked about platform among advertisers because that’s where viewers would be, believes Gopa Kumar, COO, Isobar.

“Digital brands, FMCG majors and e-commerce players will all queue up for SonyLIV. This demand will go up to the festive season when there would be new big ticket launches, be it cars or new mobile handsets. And while advertisers have spent a hefty part of their marketing budget during elections and IPL, it will be interesting to see how the market balances itself and uses the rest of the action the year has to offer,” says Kumar.

With the end of the Cricket World Cup, everyone is on the lookout for the next big thing to focus on, and hence, the upcoming West Indies tour of India, followed by The Ashes and KBC have a very high chance of garnering a remarkable viewership, feels Aatef Bham, Co-founder & Director of Business Development, Togglehead.

“As an OTT platform, SonyLIV has a plethora of opportunities to stand out in the cluttered market. With sports as their key content, just last year they clocked a remarkable viewership of over 18 million during the live streaming of FIFA World Cup in Russia. Such global events not only ensure brands a skyrocketing viewership but also allows them to reach out to their niche. Adding to the strong line-up, its progress as a gaming platform targets specific demographics which if aligned with a brand’s reach can prove to be optimal," Bham adds.

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