We plan to take Pro Volleyball league to 5 cities this year: Rajesh Kaul, SPN India

Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution & Head – Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, says that the network has bigger plans for WWE and the PRO Volleyball league

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 7, 2019 8:29 AM

In a marketing strategy ahead of the UEFA Champions’ League semi-final and final, Sony Pictures Network on Monday named Farhan Akhtar as UEFA’s official guest.

The tournament has experienced a considerable jump in viewership and the broadcaster revealed that it has seen a 79% growth over the previous season. The network will also screen the matches at PVR Cinemas at Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai.

But that’s not all that the broadcaster has in the kitty.

Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head – Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, said that there are bigger plans for WWE and the PRO Volleyball league.

Speaking about what attributed to UEFA’s growth, Kaul said, “This is all in terms of viewership, as per BARC data. This year was simple because, last year, the kind of success that FIFA World Cup saw, it got newer audiences. The way we marketed it, that was bound to happen. This time, we made a very special effort to have 12 games telecast at primetime in India. Earlier, games used to happen at 12:30 (am). This time, we ensured that we get a better sample.”

He also mentioned that the numbers for FIFA World Cup will be far better. WWE is also one sport that SPN has seen a lot of traction on. New languages have been added to the regional commentary of these matches. “The shared number of hours and the consistent reach it gets week after week has ensured that WWE remains on top of the pile. We have always tried to experiment with different things. The whole idea is to reach to more number of masses. We don’t want language to be a barrier for a person to not to watch the sport. We did WWE in Hindi last year and we saw a huge traction there. We saw an incremental viewership. That basically motivated us to go one step ahead and try it out in at least South Indian languages like Telugu and Tamil. We just started last month. Hopefully, we will add more audience and bigger sampling.”  

Kaul also revealed how the Hindi commentary of NBA helped get good traction. “We have been trying Hindi with NBA as well. That has also given us good traction. There will be lot of buzz and marketing plan when these two teams come to India pre-season. That would be a good start for the next season.”

Kaul also divulged plans for the next season of the PRO Volleyball league. The objective is to move from two to five cities. “Volleyball league was the first season. It was a phenomenal success, although it was organised in a very short period of time and just happened in couple of southern states. This year, the plan is to take it to five different cities. It was a testing ground for us. The idea is to make it far better this year and get couple of more teams as well.”              

Given the new TRAI regime, every channel has seen certain changes in numbers. But Kaul feels it is too early to comment on that.

“That’s because of the fact that it is just two months old and we don’t have complete visibility in terms of the report. You have seen the various complaints made by various stakeholders that broadcasters are not getting a complete visibility of what’s happening. Once we get that, we will be in a position to know what’s happening. As of now, going purely by the numbers we are getting, I don’t see any impact.

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