afaqs!

SonyLIV's 'little escapes'

By Satrajit Sen and Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | September 30, 2013
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MSM's SonyLIV.com was launched in January, 2013, as the channel's digital video channel, making it the last player to enter the digital game among other GECs like STAR and Colors. The channel has launched a big noise multi-media campaign, inspired by the well-established truth that modern life is all about the little escapes.

Multi Screen Media (MSM) has launched a television campaign to promote its video-on-demand channel, SonyLIV.com. The campaign comprises three television commercials (TVCs) woven around the insight that in today's stressful life, the small breaks, or the so called 'little escapes', are made more joyful by the offerings of the channel.

SonyLIV.com TVC

SonyLIV.com TVC

SonyLIV.com TVC

Nitesh Kripalani

A recent comScore study reflected that online video consumption in India, as of May 2013, has doubled in the past two years to 3.7 billion video views per month. The total online video audience in India has grown 74 per cent to 54 million viewers, with the average viewer watching 18 per cent more videos and spending 28 per cent more time on online video content.

As more brands take cognisance of the fact and increasingly create digital strategies around rich media, especially videos, TV channels (especially Hindi general entertainment channels) are also gearing up for the change and counting the digital device as a second screen for content consumption.

Multi Screen Media (MSM) launched SonyLIV.com as a digital channel for all programmes of Sony Entertainment Television and SAB TV. According to the company, the key message of the TVCs is derived on the basis of a consumer behaviour study, which revealed that today's consumers are hard pressed for time and like their entertainment in byte-sizes, on the go.

Conceptualised by Havas Worldwide, the TVCs highlight the fact that now users can enjoy any of Sony channel shows that have been telecast in the last 18 years, right up to the show telecast last night. The 'Jawab', 'Washroom' and 'Burglar' films are notably focus on the message that SonyLIV.com houses all the shows of MSM's family of channels in India that include channels like Sony Entertainment Television (SET), SAB TV, Sony Max and Sony Pix.

Spreading the net

The key campaign objective is to create awareness about SonyLIV on traditional and digital media and highlight the unique features of the video-on-demand brand.

Speaking about the objective behind promoting a digital product through TVCs, Nitesh Kripalani, executive vice-president, new media, business development and digital/syndication, Sony Entertainment Network, states that the company intends to take SonyLIV following wherever the user is through awareness and acquiring new users, and TV has the following to help achieve the goal.

"The consumer is interested to consume short video capsules especially while taking a break. And, that is why we see more traffic during 1 pm to 4 pm and post 9 pm. Through the TVCs we wish to reach as many people as we can and spread awareness about the platform," Kripalani adds.

To ensure extended eyeballs, the brand building campaign has been activated across multiple media platforms including radio spots, in-cinema advertising, digital and social media. Kripalani, further, notes that the campaign leverages SonyLIV's two-pronged relation to its consumers - nostalgia for the past and relevance to the present, "Pichle 18 saal se pichli raat tak"! SonyLIV comprises 18 years of rich content from Sony's stable, covering all genres including drama, comedy, thriller, reality shows and many more, across all devices.

The teaser TVC spots will run on all channels of the Sony network, as well as networks covering the entire gamut of relevant channels, from news and lifestyle to movie channels, Hindi and regional channels. MSM has also tied up with the cinema theatres of the country to showcase the ads before the movies begin and during intervals. To reach out to radio listeners, SonyLIV has tied up with leading radio channels for radio spots and on-air content integration.

The marketing strategy, says Kripalani, is inspired by the well-established truth that modern life is all about the little escapes. The objective of SonyLIV is to make these breaks as exciting and rejuvenating as possible for the loyal Sony fan base by making their favourite content available on their fingertips.

"Today, India is defined by time crunches, personal and professional pressures and long work hours. The only way to deal with this everyday stress is to carve out some time for a little break. We at SonyLIV want to make these breaks as entertaining as possible for Indian consumers," he informs.

Catch them young

MSM launched SonyLIV in January 2013. Targeting the youth, SonyLIV was intended to serve as the online destination for content from the Sony stable - Sony, SAB and Max. The SonyLIV application was also made available across major app stores - iTunes and Google Play (Android).

During the launch, it was said that apart from enabling viewers to view current shows, SonyLIV will also give users a chance to go back in time and watch past episodes of shows from Sony's programming archives on LIV Classics. Sony also runs other video portals for its shows such as MyIndianIdol.com for Indian Idol and KBCSony.com for Kaun Banega Crorepati.

SonyLIV on tablet

SonyLIV on mobile

Since its launch, SonyLIV claims to be getting 15 to 16 million page views per month. Almost 30 per cent of the traffic comes from mobile devices including tablets and mobile phones.

Advertising stands as the major source of revenue for the platform. SonyLIV has also inked a partnership with the Affle Group for displaying interactive advertising on the platform. SonyLIV will use Affle's Ripple rich media and video ad network to serve video and mobile advertising on SonyLIV across all screens including mobiles, tablets and PCs.

Kripalani says that initially the platform looked at working towards increasing its user base. "But now, as the platform gradually gathers users, we have started monetising the platform. We are getting our existing on-air clients as well as new clients to sign up for advertising on the platform," he informs.

The uphill task

SonyLIV stands to be a new entrant in the on-demand digital video channels of GECs as STAR Player was launched in 2009 as the first network to launch its own digital platform, followed by Colors in 2010.

STAR Player offers content from all shows on the STAR Network channels including Star Plus and Life OK. Also, STAR India's key channel sites like Starplus.in, ChannelV.in and LifeOK.com redirect users to STAR Player to consume content. STAR has also started monetising STAR Player with banner ads on the site.

STAR Player is also accessible through iOS and Android-based devices; besides, it has various tie ups through which it makes make sure the content is available on other devices like feature phones as well.

Zee TV, meanwhile, has video content available on its own website. The videos trace back from the first episodes of the shows which are on-air currently. For Colors, the first step was revamping its website. Colors.in.com is a content-heavy website offering much more that just regular catch up content. Users can get episodes, live-stream of the channel, behind the scenes content, interviews, news, photo galleries and much more.

Vivek Srivastava

No other channel, apart from Sony, is promoting its digital presence as extensively. Mostly, the digital presence finds mentions in the channels' on-air shows, unlike SonyLIV, which is being promoted outside Sony network channels as well. "We promote the website, wherever possible. For non-fiction, since voting is involved, we get an opportunity to mention it on-air, thus this is more visible. However the website is mentioned in most of our on-air and off-air communication," informs Vivek Srivastava, digital and business operations head of Colors.

Apart from unique digital players, the YouTube presences of these channels have snippets of the episodes run on TV. For SonyLIV however, YouTube is not a competitor, as Kripalani notes that the channel runs only promos and snippets of shows on YouTube, whereas SonyLIV carries entire episodes.

SonyLIV, though being the late entrant in the game, is making a huge noise about its presence and this is supposed to get the channel ahead of its competitors. What remains to be seen is how the digital player from the company shapes up to contribute in the overall revenue pie of Sony Entertainment Network.

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