SonyLIV inks strategic deal with Lionsgate to boost its SVoD service

MUMBAI: Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI)-owned video on demand (VoD) platform SonyLIV has strengthened its subscription VOD (SVoD) service with a multi-year strategic deal with American entertainment giant Lionsgate.

As part of the strategic partnership, the two companies have launched Lionsgate Play premium offering on SonyLIV. The embedded Lionsgate Play destination will roll out with over 500 hours of Lionsgate premium original series.

The content offering will include hits like Power, Vida, Sweetbitter, The White Queen, The White Princess, and the eagerly-anticipated The Spanish Princess along with popular Lionsgate library titles such as Crash, Manhattan, Wildfire, Are We There Yet? and Chasing Life.

The Lionsgate Play will be available to SonyLIV’s SVoD subscribers. The VoD platform has three subscription plans including Rs 99 for a month, Rs 299 for six months and Rs 499 for a year.

SPNI business head – digital Uday Sodhi said that the Lionsgate partnership will help SonyLIV to strengthen its subscription product. SonyLIV has a strong presence in sports, TV shows and originals. The addition of Lionsgate content will boost its international content library.

The deal will allow Lionsgate to strengthen its presence in the Indian market. The content producer had made its full-fledged entry into the Indian market last year. In March last year, Lionsgate had signed a long-term exclusive deal Amazon Prime Video India for its films, television episodes and upcoming new releases.

“We are excited to partner with SonyLIV to bring Lionsgate Play in India. Our collaboration is the latest milestone in elevating our brand in India, and we’re delighted to kick off our partnership with a robust portfolio of Lionsgate programming. Sony India as a media house has a legacy of bringing cutting-edge entertainment to Indian audiences, making them the perfect choice for us to bring to the Indian audience some of our most successful premium English content. This is a great starting point for the two companies and we are excited about the journey ahead of us,” said Lionsgate India MD Rohit Jain.

Some of the Lionsgate content will be exclusive to SonyLIV. However, there will also be duplication of some content due to the existing licensing deals between Lionsgate with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

“We create a large amount of content and we have got 90 shows running across 40 different networks. However, this partnership is focussed on top-rated series and we have shortlisted some very interesting mix of popular and recently launched shows for SonyLIV. We do a lot of content with other networks and platforms but this is us offering our content and launching ourselves,” Jain said.

Sodhi noted that the consumption of English content has grown significantly on digital due to several reasons, the chief one being the penetration of Smart TVs. The adoption of Smart TVs has made it easier to binge-watch long-form shows. Another factor is the availability of Hollywood shows due to the competition in the OTT space. The awareness of these shows through social media is also boosting the consumption.

The OTT platform is also planning to grow its reach through a partnership with distribution platforms. “Most of the hybrid boxes that are available in the market will have a SonyLIV app inbuilt. In fact, most of the smart TVs, digital streaming devices like Fire Stick will have an inbuilt app of SonyLIV,” Sodhi said.

In 2019, SonyLIV’s will be focussing on offering more original content across regional languages like Marathi, Hindi and South Indian. The platform will also be boosting the English content library with a new batch of shows from Lionsgate Play. It is also planning to strengthen its original content offering through the networks recently launched content creation arm Studio NXT.

“We will make significant investments in SVOD service. We are also working on regional content in Marathi, South Indian languages and Hindi” Sodhi stated.