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Sports contributing one third of viewership and revenue, entertainment still remains the mainstay: Uday Sodhi, Sony Liv

The OTT platform is also seeing a lot of traction in the integrated marketing space. "Instead of going for 30-seconders, brands increasingly want to integrate their product in the original content," Sodhi told BestMediaInfo.com

Uday Sodhi

Sports is increasingly becoming a popular stream on the digital platform, though entertainment is still a dominant contributor, Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head, Digital, Sony Liv, said.

“Sports contributes around one-third of our total viewership and revenues. Whereas, the remaining two-third of our viewership and revenue comes from entertainment," Sodhi told BestMediaInfo.com.

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Sodhi said a lot of users end up consuming sports on their mobile phones because India is largely a single TV household market.

"Since the small screen is a personal device, a lot of people end up watching Sports on mobile phones. If the primary screen is occupied for some other content in the house, sports finds space on the phones,” he said.

He said that the consumption of content on the OTT platforms has seen unprecedented increase in recent months.

“While travelling, you will see on a bus/ train, every second person is consuming content on the OTT platform. We are seeing that in our consumption too, and off late, we are also seeing this in the advertiser response too.”

The OTT platform from Sony is in the same space as Hotstar (Star India), Voot (Viacom18) and OZee (ZEEL).

Most of these OTT platforms work on the Freemium models, where in a certain amount of content is put behind the paywall, while the majority remains free for the viewer.

Sony Liv too, was launched as a Freemium service and continues to be one. A lot of movies on the platform are behind paywall. Sodhi added, “Also, when we launch shows, one can binge watch the entire episode beforehand, behind the paywall. Normally, we release one episode per week.”

India has been long struggling to generate subscription monies for the television broadcasters and now for the digital players too. However, consumers are now gradually opening up to the idea of paying for consuming premium content. Though, advertising still remains the dominant stream for revenue.

Sodhi explained the kind of response that the paywall and subscriptions are getting, “There is traction for the paid content too. It is one of the fastest growing categories but it is growing at a smaller base. Over a period of time, we will see a lot of traction on the paid model. However, as of now, the ad supported model remains dominant for Sony LIV.”

In last few months, the advertisers have got smarter instead of going for plain vanilla 30-seconder ads and they are looking at a way to integrate their brands and products in the content line instead.

Sony Liv too, has a lot of branded content and brand integrations. Sodhi mentioned, “It is an exciting and integral part of what we do. We recently did a show called House Proud along with Asian Paints and Whirlpool. Even in the recently launched season of Love Bytes, there are brand integrations. We try and make sure that brands are a part of the storylines.”

As for the recently launched Love Bytes - 2, the show has LuvIt Chocolates as the presenting sponsor and Nobroker as ‘powered by’ sponsor.

The platform has about 40-45 original shows in four languages and there are constant efforts to increase this number.

Sodhi said that the ongoing festive seen has brought in additional cheer as the advertiser response has been overwhelming. “The festive season has been excellent. The advertiser response is very good, primarily because of a string of things like we started off with India-Sri Lanka cricket series and then, we had KBC and now the under-17 world cup. Between sports and entertainment, we have been very busy and the advertiser response has been outstanding," he said.


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