Food will be our growth category both in terms of consumer and advertisers: Uday Sodhi, SPN

We speak to Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head – Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) on introducing food genre in OTT space, how it will be a major growth category and what’s working for SonyLIV

SonyLIV introduces the food genre to its existing line-up of diversified content, thereby being the first mover in the OTT space to introduce food as a genre. It has joined hands with Padma Shri awardee, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Rajshri Food and host of nearly 100 chefs to bring in 4,000 hours of content. Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head – Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) elaborates on the strategy, the need to introduce this content block and OTT’s present challenges:

With SonyLIV being the first OTT platform to bring the food block, what’s the content line-up? What’s the aim?

We are adding about 4,000 hours over the next couple of days from linear live channel FoodFood, Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana and Rajshri productions (from 100 chefs). There are shows we plan to create jointly with Sanjeev Kapoor and other chefs and accumulate. We intend to add languages across board, going forward in this space also. The idea is to extend this to 8-10,000 hours of content in the next 12 months, bring in more users and make this one big curated destination for premium food content.

We are looking at various ways of aggregation. Plus we are creating new videos also, some of which will go live right now, while some just need to be green lit. Over the next 12 months we have laid out plans which include original shows and branded ones and aggregation of more language content. This just cuts across in terms of my consumers where I can give them something special. This is special for our advertisers because we can go back to them for something bigger.

Brand association will start taking place in the next seven to 10 days. Will it be on the same lines as sport?
Food will be our growth category in terms of consumer, advertisers and aggregation of more content. This will bring in more stickiness and Facebook active users.

What made you introduce this category on this platform?
This is based on the conversation with our consumers who want more. One of the categories where people are looking for more content is food. On online, it’s one of the fastest growing categories. Also, it’s a digital first category. It helps to make the engagement level and the time-spent on our app much better. We believe there is an intrinsic demand for this.

How is sport shaping up on your platform?
It's shaping up quite well. Sports contribute to 30-35 per cent of traffic. Revenue-wise, it’s more or less the same. It’s a good balance of sports and entertainment which keeps us going.

What kind of content is working for SonyLIV currently?

Shows are the biggest segment followed by sport. Drama, human interest storytelling and short story work for us. We get traction on original shows and short story. Big properties like ‘KBC’, ‘Super Dancer’ are doing well on our platform. Most of our content conversations are happening either on shows or short film category.

Why the need to tie up with content creators?
We look at good content being created outside. Also we look at ourselves as a platform. Today SonyLIV is hosting 45 different originals across four languages. So their content gives our consumer more time to spend and more ways to consume content on our platform. We are looking at more ways to get our consumer spend more time on us.

Any present challenges...?
We are looking at how fast this industry is growing. Where do we see the growth going forward? How do we expand the category? As the industry grows, expectation from the consumer increases in terms of quality and content and how people will be able to consume it on their TV and their phones. Our challenge is to make sure we address these needs of the consumer: multi-screen, multi-bandwidth and the spread of the content. It’s part of our effort to give them more content.

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