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Sony Liv to build regional content portfolio

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India’s video-on-demand (VoD) service Sony Liv is building its regional content portfolio along with other verticals like movies, shows, short films and sports.

Sony Liv had recently launched its first regional web series in Marathi, ‘YOLO’, which was followed by India’s first-ever Gujarati rom-com web series ‘Kacho Papad Pako Papad’. The OTT platform is planning to get more such regional content on board, further expanding its library.

Sony Liv EVP and head of digital business Uday Sodhi said, “We will keep exciting moving on our platform and there will be new thing up for offering. There will be more and more regional content coming. From our focus perspective, we are also focusing on a lot of sport. We are also focusing on building our content library on the shows front and for short films we would be building it with new talent.”

The platform is also expanding its short films library by creating more original content. It has released two new short films, ‘Papa We Love You Too’ and ‘The Gift,’ both created with an aim to relate with the audience.

“We started with short film at a very early stage because a few years back whenever we were looking for digital content, a couple of things came up—web series and short films. We figured that short films are digital friends and would not have outlet anywhere else. That’s why we started looking at it and showcasing it. With the new short films, we are planning to create stories that are relevant to society and are also issue based. We are focusing on getting new talent with such short films,” Sodhi stated.

The film ‘Papa We Love You Too’ revolves around the protagonist Vikas, portrayed by Jimmy Shergill, who is a 40-year-old single parent. Shergill is a workaholic whose life centres on his professional achievements, which eventually weakens his bond with his eight-year old son. The shadow of this relationship is also reflected in the bond that Vikas shares with his father, played by veteran director, writer and actor Lekh Tandon.

‘The Gift’ is a thriller that describes the complexities of contemporary relationships, with actors Kushal Punjabi, Gul Panag and Mandira Bedi portraying lead roles. The narrative throws light on the ruthlessness of modern life and how the overarching desires make us commit incomprehensible acts.

Going forward, Sony Liv will create more such issue-based short films with a time frame of 20 minutes. The platform is also looking at partnerships with other production houses, producers and director for the short films. With the short films, it is planning to target audiences in the 18–34 of age group.

For the marketing and distribution of the short films, Sony Liv will depend mainly on social media and word-of-mouth publicity. The OTT platform currently has 500 short films in its library and has got on board content from Whistling Wood International.

During the launch of the shorts films, Sony Liv hosted a discussion panel on the subject of ‘Digital storytelling that mirrors relationship trends in contemporary Indian Society’. At the panel, Sodhi stated that the demand for digital has grown up, which, in turn, has also seen growth in advertising revenue. “Advertising revenue in digital has shown by 35–40% year on year and we are glad to be a part of it,” he added.

Sony Liv has seen growth in its advertising revenue and has got new brands on board. The platform is also planning to experiment with its subscription model, especially in the sport vertical, for further monetisation.