SonyLIV: Alive & Kicking
"Originals" Led Resurgence for India's FIRST Streamer
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RSL (Roshn Saudi League) exclusively on SonyLIV India, in addition to other major non - cricket sporting events such as WWE, Davis Cup Tennis, Bundesliga etc.
SonyLIV OTT Platform
Content Genre Comparison Across a Few Major Indian OTTs
SonyLIV OTT Platform
SonyLIV is an over-the-top streaming platform owned by Culver Max Entertainment (Sony Pictures Networks India). SonyLIV was introduced in 2013 as the first OTT service in India.
As a streaming service, it provides live sports, original shows, other content titles from its own networks and content titles in India licensed from third-parties such as Lionsgate and ITV amongst others. The Sony Liv content library includes films, TV shows, sports and series.
The streamer has seen a resurgence in it’s subscriber numbers over the past 2-3 years with a strong slate of original content, starting with the widely popular original show Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story.
On the cricket front, Sony has the rights for all the international cricket games in England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Pakistan Super League (PSL), and the Hundred cricket tournaments in England.
SonyLIV is known for strong content IPs that it owns and showcases on it’s broadcast channels, but also on SonyLIV - MasterChef India, Indian Idol, Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa amongst others.
In addition to the strong content IP slate from it’s broadcast channels that transfer over to OTT, the Originals strategy from SonyLIV is inspired via it’s partnership with Applause Entertainment, the Aditya Birla Group owned content powerhouse, run by media veteran Sameer Nair.
On the “originals” front they recently revealed a robust 35-strong series slate, including some returning hits, with a further expansion into South Indian languages in addition to its Hindi-language slate.
Headquartered in Mumbai, the streamer now has three content offices in South India, in Kochi, Hyderabad and Chennai. SonyLIV also now has 24 million paid subscribers, SonyLIV head of content Saugata Mukherjee told Variety.
In the Tamil language, after the success of “Tamil Rockerz” in 2022 and “The Story of Things” earlier this year, SonyLIV has the show “Journey,” headlined by R. Sarathkumar with Cheran Pandian (“Autograph”) serving as show-runner; and “The Madras Murder,” set against the backdrop of the Tamil film industry in the 1950s and 1960s, with A.L. Vijay (“Kireedam”) as show-runner.
The Malayalam-language slate features slice-of-life satire “Jai Mahendran” from show-runner Rahul Riji Nair (“Kho Kho”); and thriller “Blindfold” from show-runner Anzarulla (“Vishuddha Arappiyude Onnam Athbhutha Pravarthi”) and Harshad (“Unda”).
SonyLIV also has Marathi-language coming-of-age series “Lampan” from show-runner director Nipun Dharmadhikari (“Me Vasantrao”) in the works, alongside season 2 of “Shantit-Kranti” from Sarang Sathye and Paula McGlynn, which is also in the coming-of-age genre and recently launched on the platform
The Hindi-language shows include musical “Chamak” from Rohit Jugraj (“Arjun Patiala”); “Garmi” from Tigmanshu Dhulia (“Paan Singh Tomar”), set in the world of university campus politics; and “Jengaburu,” about mining scams, from Nila Madhab Panda (“Yesterday’s Past”).
The previously announced “Scam 3” by Hansal Mehta, “Freedom at Midnight” by Nikkhil Advani, “Charlie Chopra and the Murder at the Solang Valley by Vishal Bhardwaj, “Jazz City” by Rahul Dholakia and “Children of Freedom” by Sudhir Mishra are in the works. So too are season 3 of Subhash Kapoor’s “Maharani” and season 4 of TVF’s “Gullak.” Season 2 of hit show “Rocket Boys” is streaming now.
SonyLIV and Applause Entertainment have announced their upcoming slate for 2023, including two new series Kafas (Cage) and 36 Days, besides the second instalment to the Scam franchise, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story.
The slate also includes the return of shows on SonyLIV with new seasons - Tanaav season two, Undekhi season three and Avrodh season three.
Kafas, produced in association with Madiba Entertainment is a social drama series directed by Sahil Sangha. The second series 36 Days produced in association with BBC Studios India is a suspense thriller, directed by Vishal Furia.
The “Scam” Original show franchise continues to play a leading role in the stickiness of the SonyLIV app - it is consistency ranked 1 and 2 on the Originals Top 10 on the app. Talk about the power of ONE game changing franchise!
SonyLIV Hindi language Originals are also dubbed and available in Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Kannada.
65% of the genre representation belongs to “Thriller” and “Drama”, which also has “Biopic” at 3.75% and Family at 2.5%. The success of Scam offers hope that biopic focused originals presented in an entertaining manner are a relevant option as their content strategy.
Content Genre Comparison Across A Few Major Indian OTTs
Over the past several newsletters, we have analyzed the “Originals” content, web series and shows on Disney+ Hotstar and Zee5. With SonyLIV, we complete majority of the circle (JioCinema, Netflix, Prime Video will come up soon) across the major OTTs grabbing eyeballs in India.
Genre breakdown across Zee5, SonyLIV and Disney+ Hotstar:
Zee5 has the highest distribution for most of the genres - Thriller, Comedy, Romance and Action.
Disney+ Hotstar clearly has a penchant for “Crime” focused shows.
And SonyLIV is building it’s Originals’ chops focusing on the old fashioned, but hugely popular “Drama” genre.
SonyLIV continues to grow and expand on the back of marquee content IPs such as Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Masterchef India, Indian Idol, Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa which are catch up shows from it’s TV slate, however the main magic started with the launch of the Scam series on SonyLIV and it’s partnership with Sameer Nair and Applause Entertainment. The raging success of this show was a watershed moment in SonyLIV’s history which traditionally relied on live sports & catch up content for subscribers and churn reduction.
Post that it has expanded to creating gripping and engaging OTT focused shows across languages with Shantit-Kranti” in Marathi, from Sarang Sathye and Paula McGlynn, Tamil Rockerz in Tamil and others.
The Zee - Sony merger will further solidify the “Originals” categories for the combined entity and offers a mouth watering, exciting and almost irresistible content IP pipeline of shows which should keep users hooked from one season to the next.
Loss of “Indian” cricket rights and being restricted to cricket series in England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is a setback, however the merger completion with Zee, strong “Originals” strategy and marquee content IPs from television will make up for this.
Interesting times for Indian OTT subscribers and users with a potential Reliance Jio - Disney+ Hotstar combination in the works and Zee - Sony joining hands.
STREAMING CONTENT GALORE!
That’s all for today folks. If you enjoyed this breakdown, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues.
The best original show I have seen this year out of India (maybe since the pandemic!), YRF’s (Yash Raj Films) OTT launch lives up to it’s expectations and how - with amazing performances from a stellar star cast including Kay Kay Menon, Babil Khan (Irfan Khan’s son), R. Madhavan, Juhi Chawla amongst others, “The Railway Men” showcases the terrible Union Carbide gas leak tragedy in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in 1984, AND how brave railway workers saved countless lives in the face of an unspeakable disaster. Must Watch.
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