We had 36 brands partner with us during FIFA World Cup 2018: Uday Sodhi

The EVP and Head, Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, tells us about the growth SonyLIV saw during the football tournament in a country where few sports other than cricket capture popular attention

e4m by Christina Moniz
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 8:58 AM

SonyLIV, the digital OTT (over-the-top) platform from Sony Pictures Networks India, has been in the football space for close to five years now, having started with the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and then the 2016 Euro tournament. However, this year’s football World Cup has been different for the platform for a variety of reasons, Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head Digital Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, tells us.

Perhaps, the biggest among them is the fact that the platform reached the 70 million user mark during the tournament, outdoing their projection of 45 million.

“This year’s FIFA World Cup was of course a big event for us at SonyLIV because for one, the match timings this time were ideal for Indian audiences. We also worked to build a great deal of interest and buzz around the tournament with campaigns such as Meri Doosri Country and #ScreamLoud. We have hit about 70 million users for the entire tournament, as per Akamai data,” Sodhi tells us.

While data on the platform’s monthly active users post the World Cup will only be available next month, he points out that the tournament has significantly driven user base growth.

“Before the World Cup, our monthly user base was in the range of about 25 million. During the World Cup, we had 95 million monthly active users,” he says. Of these, 10% were paid subscribers while the rest opted for the free feed with a five-minute delay. While a large chunk of the viewership came from markets like Kolkata, Cochin and big metros, cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Pune and Jaipur also contributed greatly. Another interesting statistic is that 17% of the viewers were female.

The football extravaganza saw brands from diverse sectors on board with SonyLIV, a testament to the fact that advertisers are looking beyond urban, premium audiences.

Talking about advertiser interest in the tournament this year, Sodhi says, “We had 36 advertisers who partnered with us for the entire World Cup, and we did a lot of innovative stuff with these brands. It has been interesting to see the diversity in the brands that have come on board – we have had advertisers like Patanjali, Apple, Godrej, Mondelez, ITC, VIP, etc.”

The platform is betting big on the massive cricket line-up ahead, which includes the ongoing India-England series.

“The good part is that we have now created a loyal sports audience base on SonyLIV. The World Cup may be over, but we have a lot of cricket coming up. We have got 70 days of cricket in England! Then there is the Asian Games, which is another huge property, followed by the Indian tour of Australia later this year.”

SonyLIV also has a host of other offerings for the sports enthusiast such as NBA and WWE. Additionally, the platform also broadcasts various leading European football leagues, the Champions Trophy and the UEFA Championship.

With this variety in sports content, Sodhi adds that his objective is to make SonyLIV the go-to OTT platform for all things sports. However, the platform is also looking at cinema and TV shows to drive further growth.

“Our aim is to offer the best live sports experience to our consumers. With our GEC and cinema content, we want to offer the best possible entertainment line-up for our consumers,” he says, adding that they will continue to invest heavily in building great content.

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