Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), on July 18, 2017 (yesterday), announced the launch of a new vertical called 'Sony Pictures Sports Networks' (SPSN), which will represent the entire sports bouquet.
The media conglomerate also announced the launch of two new high definition sports channels, namely, Sony Ten 2 HD and Sony Ten 3 HD, to further strengthen the sports portfolio.
Recall that last year, SPNI acquired Ten Sports Network from Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL), a move that took its sports portfolio to nine channels (by adding five to its existing four).
With the addition of Sony Ten 2 HD and Sony Ten 3 HD, the portfolio is now 11 channels strong.
The network has also re-branded the entire sports bouquet; Ten 1 will now be Sony Ten 1. Similarly, the other 'Ten' channels will have Sony as a prefix.
About the name, that is, about retaining the word 'Ten' in it, NP Singh, chief executive officer, SPNI , tells afaqs!, "Ten Sports Network has been there since 2002 and it is an established brand by now. So we decided to keep the same brand name and add Sony instead of making it Sony 1, Sony 2 and so on."
As a part of the re-branding, logos of the other sports channels have also been changed. "The re-branded version and the two new channels will go live today (July 18, 2017), 8:00 pm onwards," informs Rajesh Kaul, president, Sports and Distribution, Sony Pictures Networks, India.
To market the sports cluster, the media conglomerate has roped in cricket champion Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador; he is part of the new TV commercials. Creative agency JWT has worked on the campaign.
Sony marked its entry into sports broadcasting in 1998 by acquiring the media rights for Sri Lanka Cricket Board, followed by the broadcasting rights of the ICC Cricket World Cup (2003 and 2007).
The network did not have any sports channel back then and used to air sports on its movies channel Sony Max. In 2008, the network invested in acquiring broadcasting rights of the Indian Premier League, a tournament that had no past glory to bank on.
In 2012, the network launched its first Sports channel Sony Six and then added Sony Kix and Sony Six HD to make it a three-channel network. In 2015, the conglomerate announced a partnership with global sports giant ESPN. In 2016, the network completed the acquisition of Ten Sports Networks from ZEEL.
The network also has the broadcasting rights of five cricket boards: South Africa, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and West Indies. It also has the rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup till 2018. International football viewers can also access Serie A, La Liga and FA Cup football on Sony channels.