'Partnership with telcos creates exciting opportunity to expand Lionsgate's offering'

Lionsgate Play, the video streaming service, will cater to the Indian consumer in six vernacular languages and dubbed content, shares Rohit Jain, MD, Lionsgate South Asia

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Published: Mar 25, 2020 9:14 AM  | 4 min read
Rohit Jain

The Indian OTT market has been an attractive destination for international video streaming players. Lionsgate Play, the OTT player with its impressive content line, too entered India through strategic partnerships with telcos like Vodafone Play, Idea and most recently Airtel Xstream.  

Lionsgate Play boasts of more than 1,000 hours of blockbuster movies like ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Twilight’, ‘Step Up’, ‘La La Land’ and ‘Wonder’, thus bringing the best from various movie genres to the doorstep of the Indian viewers.

exchange4mdia caught up with Rohit Jain, Managing Director, Lionsgate South Asia, for more on the foray of Lionsgate Play into the Indian OTT space and how it intends to stand out in the market.

Excerpts from the interview:

Could you elaborate on your partnership with Indian telcos and the reason behind entering the Indian market through this partnership?

The partnership with telecom operators creates an exciting opportunity to expand the Lionsgate Play offering as a premium service delivering a vast library of compelling films and a great user experience to all our shared customers. We believe the telcos will have a huge role in the new digital age of content and we are delighted to bring this premium service to India with leading platforms like Airtel and Vodafone Idea, which have an enormous reach and tremendous distribution expertise.

Which other partnerships do you plan in India to help you maximise your reach? 

We strive to maximize our reach and solve for supply in all our endeavours - whether it is B2B2C or B2C. Keeping the consumers at the center, we have set an ambitious roadmap for ourselves in terms of on-boarding multiple distribution partners across devices. We are in the process of closing in on other deals with companies (across industries i.e. telecom, ecommerce, wallet, to name a few), that have the apt reach and network expertise. We will have more launches happening in the next 6 to 12 months and we are excited to make our service available across consumers.  

How do you plan to monetize the platform? Could you share your revenue model?

We are a pure SVOD model at the moment we are working with other large consumer companies like telcos to offer a bundled service to consumers, which makes pricing and availability very efficient for end consumers. In the coming months, our B2C standalone version will also be available to consumers.

How will you differentiate your product from other international players like Netflix, Amazon or Disney?

We have a focused service in terms of our content offerings. With 28 academy awards, 32 Emmy awards, an entertainment library of over 17,000 titles, a theatrical film slate that performs both critically and commercially, we have curated our content spread across genres like horror, comedy, action, drama, action, thriller, to name a few. This unique curation aims at letting the consumer spend more time watching and less time browsing. Another key aspect of our platform is the availability of our content dubbed in six Indian languages - Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Bhojpuri. India is coalescence of different languages and there is an innate interest in consuming content in one’s local language. We want to bridge this gap by dubbing most of our globally acclaimed films in vernaculars.

Could you tell us more about your content library?

We have the world’s largest entertainment library of over 17,000 titles and with nearly 90 television shows on 40 different networks, 18 premium networks and over-the-top streaming platforms. Although we are very proud of our vast expanse of content, our key offering is really about curation - fresh and innovative content available across consumers across languages. 

How do you intend to cater to the Indian audience who is increasingly showing an affinity to local languages?

India is an amalgamation of different languages and there is an innate interest in consuming content in one’s local language. We want to bridge this gap by dubbing most of our globally acclaimed films in vernaculars. Our current offering includes blockbusters and mega-hit franchisees and more, with much of it available in the six Indian languages.

Do you plan to produce content Originals for the Indian market?

Our endeavour is to bring the best content to the consumer and our current offering provides that. Originals is still a nascent category and we are developing high impact and high concept TV series and co-producing few feature films. 

Could you share your marketing budgets or mix for the India market?

We aim to reach consumers through distribution and owned channels using a 360-degree marketing approach. Given the profiling, reach and digital offers, our marketing strategy will largely be skewed towards digital.


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