India’s SonyLIV sets global expansion plans with 40 solid slates
India’s SonyLIV video streaming platform is set to go global by October and has a solid roster of 40 shows in the works.
Over the past four weeks, the service has been smoothly launched in 28 global territories, including the European Union, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and North Africa, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Zealand. In the United States, SonyLIV was launched on Sling TV.
In 2013, SonyLIV, a division of Sony Pictures Networks India, was the first premium VOD service to be launched in India. It has since been overtaken by 21st Century Fox’s Hotstar, now incorporated into Disney and renamed Disney Plus Hotstar.
In June 2020, SonyLIV was relaunched with a renewed brand identity under the leadership of Danish Khan, Commercial Director of Sony Entertainment Television, Digital Business and Studio Next. India was under COVID-19 lockdown at the time of the relaunch and the service saw subscriber numbers increase with the launch of 17 original series including “Your Honor”, “Undekhi”, “Avrodh: The Siege Within “and” JL: 50 “and six films including the Busan title” Bhonsle “,” Ram Singh Charlie “and” Kadakh “.
In October 2020, “Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story” by Hansal Mehta, the true story of a stockbroker who played with the system, was released and quickly became the show and subscription pilot. no longer watched from the streamer.
Unlike other streamers in the region, SonyLIV does not hesitate to reveal the number of subscribers. In India, the service has some six million paying subscribers, most of whom joined it last year. The SonyLIV premium plan, which includes originals, local library movies, Hollywood catalog titles like “Alex Rider” and “War of the Worlds” and a range of sports, costs 999 INR ($ 13.50) per year. .
“This has been extremely positive growth for us, from almost zero to six million,” Khan said. Variety.
In May 2021, SonyLIV achieved another success with the political drama series “Maharani”, starring Huma Qureshi (“Army of the Dead”).
The official launch in October in all phased-launch territories will take advantage of a plethora of new shows, mostly in the Hindi language. Tamil and Telugu titles are also in preparation, followed by Bengali, Malayalam and Kannada. The whole will be supported by an aggressive international marketing campaign.
“We strongly believe that Indian stories have global appeal, if done right,” Khan said. “We believe that the stories are universal and that Indian stories will find interest, not only among the diaspora, but also among unrelated people, or people who are not originally from India. I firmly believe that in the next two years it will happen. “
Upcoming series include the youth show “Chutzpah” with comedian Varun Sharma; the hacking video drama “Tamil Stalkers” from the venerable AVM studio in Chennai; a still untitled series from Bollywood royalty Imtiaz Ali (“Jab We Met”); and the medical romance “Faadu” by feminist director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari (“Panga”).
One of the streamer’s most ambitious shows is “Rocket Boys,” which features Nikkhil Advani (“D-Day”) as showrunner and is co-produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur. It tells the story of the Indian space program and will be a major driver of the October launch.
A total of 40 shows, 20 in Hindi and 10 each in Tamil and Telugu have been ordered and SonyLIV is also acquiring several films in several languages. The second seasons of “Scam”, “Avrodh”, “Undekhi” and “Your Honor” are among the programs in preparation.
The hallmark of the SonyLIV ordering process is that once the topic and showrunners have been approved, “the focus is completely on activation, we make sure the showrunners or the creator are sufficiently qualified to follow ( their) creative vision, ”Khan said. These words will be music to the ears of many Indian creatives who harbor deep resentment towards the leaders of the streaming industry. “We are not very careful by nature. “
As for the production budgets of these shows, they are “a little less than our competitors, but good enough to produce good shows,” says Khan. SonyLIV operates mainly in original and sporting spaces. For sports, Khan sees Disney Plus Hotstar as a top contender, and in the originals, Amazon Prime Video.
The most popular and therefore the most lucrative property among Indian sports is the Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket Tournament, which was the crown jewel of Sony India, until Star India, which then made part of Fox, and now another Disney team, is ending this round in 2017 with a potent bid of $ 2.55 billion for rights from 2018 to 2022.
When the IPL rights are auctioned again next year, Sony will again be in the fray. “We are going to bid, with reason, not with vanity,” Khan said. Until then, Sony and SonyLIV have many sporting rights including India cricket tours in Sri Lanka and England this summer, England cricket tour in Pakistan, current Euro football tournament, championships of Copa America and UEFA Super Cup football; and the Tokyo Olympics.