'Challenge will be to excite existing SonyLIV viewers and make them subscribe'

Ashish Golwalkar, Head-Content SET, Digital Business, and Aman Srivastava, Head-Marketing, Digital Business, SPNI, talk about the newly launched SonyLIV 2.0

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Jun 18, 2020 5:28 PM
SONY

Sony Pictures Networks India’s OTT platform SonyLIV 2.0 is all set to go live with its first Indian Original Your Honor on June 18. The platform will also be streaming American drama For Life and Rajat Kapoor’s Kadhak. 
Along with the launch of new content, the app has introduced a new subscription package. LIV Premium is priced at Rs 999 annually, Rs 699 biannual and Rs 299 monthly. Earlier, the premium subscription at SonyLIV was priced at Rs 499 yearly, Rs 299 for six months and Rs 99 per month. In an interview with exchange4media, Ashish Golwalkar - Head-Content SET, Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), and Aman Srivastava, Sr VP Head of Marketing – Digital Business, SPNI, share their content plan, marketing mix and much more. 

Excerpts: 
What kind of content are you planning to bring on the platform and in how many languages? What are the content deals/partnerships that the platform has done so far?  
Ashish Golwalkar: We are focusing on the stories that are intellectually enriching, that have some interesting narrative and are very Indian in their ethos and yet progressive. It could be biographies, shows on literature, stories that come from India and have global appeal. In terms of languages, in the beginning, we're focusing on Hindi, English and Marathi. We are going live from tomorrow, and along with the release of our first original series, we will also have two international shows. Maybe in second year, we will add some southern language shows in the mix, including Telugu and Tamil. We are already working on the content slate for those markets. 
We plan to bring lot of new content for our audience but currently I can only share the plan for the first two months which is fully ready. We will launch five shows in the next two months. We are going on air with shows such as Your Honor, Kadhak, Scam 1992 and Avrodh that are completely ready. A lot of shoots were stopped during lockdown, so, we will have to reassess the situaton. For some other shows, we still have to wrap the shoots. 
We have deals with Applause Entertainment for four shows for now, and it will get deeper going forward. We already have a partnership with TVF and now we have further expanded it. Earlier, we had only one show Gulak from them. Now we will have four shows.  
We are also working with some good filmmakers such as Nikhil Advani, Hansal Mehta, Timangshu Dhulia and others who will bring good shows for us. 

What kind international content/shows are you planning to bring on SonyLIV? Which studios have you partnered with? 
Ashish Golwalkar: We already have a partnership with Sony Pictures Television (SPT) that we have expanded. We already have some shows from them like For Life and The Good Doctor. Now their new seasons will also be available. On Becoming a God in Central Florida will also be exclusively available on SonyLIV. We are also planning to bring some light-hearted content like United We Fall. Apart from SPT, we have some content from ITV Studios, Lionsgate and NBCUniversal. We will also air some marquee properties like Mind Your Language, The Office and Suits. 
In terms of English content, all OTT players have a rich content library. We have just started, and willl acquire whatever is suitable for our viewers. We are open to acquiring more content. 

What is your distribution strategy? 
Aman Shrivastava: SonyLIV app will be available across the digital ecosystem; all devices and platforms, and across telecom players. It will be available everywhere-on android platform, iOS platform, Amazon firestick and even smart TV. 
How much is the subscription cost? How many subscription packs do you plan to introduce? 
Aman Shrivastava: As of now we are launching with LIV Premium pack which is priced at Rs 999 annually, Rs 699 biannual and Rs 299 monthly. Going forward, once live sports comes into play, we will look at other packs. But for now, we are launching with LIV Premium pack only. 

The OTT space is too cluttered in terms of content. How does SonyLiv 2.0 plan to stand out?
Ashish Golwalkar: We have worked really hard on creating an experience for the viewer and we are really confident that as we go along, we will improve with all the feedback and research. Access to content will be smoother and better than what it was earlier. I think we will have a good visibility amongst existing viewerrs who anyways come to the app to watch. The challenge will be to excite them with content offerings and make them subscribe and move behind the paywall. I think that is a constant challenge. But with the kind of plans we have, we're hoping that it will all come true. 

What will be your marketing plans to promote SonyLIV app?
Aman Shrivastava: For us, the audio-visual medium has always been the foray. On Digital, we will be available across all kinds of platforms wherein we will find our kind of TG who will be interested in our kind of original shows. YouTube and Facebook remain one of the biggest places. 
We will also leverage our own user base of SonyLIV which we would want to convert. Hence,in-app marketing is going to be extensive where we would shift our existing users into SVOD. Apart from that, we will be available across all premium channels on television.
We will also leverage SPNI’s network as it is going to be one of the biggest pillars for us because we have a huge base of audience there. We are also looking at news and entertainment websites to promote SVOD offerings. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are definitely going to be a part of our mix. We wll be on any digital platform that has a decent amount of user base because it is not just about launching shows, it is also about the new identity of SonyLIV. It is about getting viewers to have an experience of the new SonyLIV app.  

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