Benita Chacko
OTT Streaming

Sony LIV targets new subscribers through regional original content

Aman Srivastava, head of marketing, Sony LIV, speaks on the various initiatives it is taking to double its subscriber base by 2024.

By 2024, Sony LIV intends to double its subscriber base from its existing 18.2 million paying subscribers. After the metro cities, it is now attempting to bring regional and also international audiences into its fold. Towards that end, it is bringing out original content in regional languages. 

Last year, it launched a couple of Tamil shows, including Tamil Rockerz and Meme Boys, to reach out to that market. This year it plans to foray into Telugu and Malayalam content as well. 

Aman Srivastava, head of marketing, Sony LIV, says it will also consider other Indian language originals. 

“Apart from the regional space, we are also looking forward to new content in the Hindi originals space. While originals will be our mainstay, there will be regional movies as well along with a good sprinkling of sporting action,” he says. 

These regional languages are also giving the platform a good opportunity to expand in the international markets. With the Tamil foray, it received a good response from South Asian countries that have Tamil-speaking audiences. With the Malayalam content, it hopes to gain subscribers in the Middle East/ North Africa (MENA) region and Malayasia.

“We will see how the international market responds to our regional content. Apart from the Indian market, the idea would be to grow that base over there as well,” he says. 

However, the challenge is to mount those stories right. “We look at making cerebral content. The idea is to carry that forward into the other languages as well - stories untold in that region, about that region and heroes coming from that part of the country,” he says.

Currently it markets its content in international markets, especially the MENA region, as well. It is looking to expand in the international markets. With a wider distribution network coming into play, Srivastava believes that the growth numbers will be coming from there as well.

“We see people from international markets latching on to shows like Maharani, Scam, Tabbar  and Gullak. In fact, we have seen a lot of uptake for Malayalam movies in the MENA region. We are looking at forging partnerships over there. Once that is in place our growth will come from there,” he adds. 

So are the metro cities saturated now? Srivastava says not yet. Those audiences may have sampled Sony LIV content by now, but they are yet to become loyalists.

“We have reached the consumer once, but we are yet to convert the consumers into loyalists.

Nowadays, people want to sample a lot of content on the platform. So the idea would be to ensure that the Metro markets become our loyalists. The expansion in the smaller markets will always be ongoing because it's a much broader market. We have been there for the last two years, but we'll have to wait a little more time before we call them loyalists. there is always headroom to grow in metros,” he says. 

In a bid towards this it is working towards creating a loyalty programme. “We are working on building a community because we will be entering our third year. We will try to engage with our loyal base in a different manner. We have a lot of plans, but we need to work out the finer details,” he adds. 

Sony LIV's pamphlet
Sony LIV's pamphlet

Sony LIV is attempting to reach out to its audience through some unique marketing initiatives. In some markets, it partnered with grocery delivery platforms like Zepto to distribute pamphlets with a QR code to download the app. It also partnered with Myntra in some geographies. Its ads featured on the Adani and Tata Power electricity bills in Mumbai.

“Grocery as a platform becomes the easiest way to reach straight into the consumer’s house. We’ll try it in other markets as well. The idea was to basically surprise the consumer by reaching into their homes through mediums that they hadn't thought of. We also want to make it easier for the consumer to subscribe. In the coming year, we will look at other such local touch points to reach the users and add to it,” he says.

It also put out its QR codes in newspapers and at airports. It has partnered with 15-16 airports in major metro cities (except Delhi) to place digital static advertising boards. Its ads are present across all the nine domestic gates at the Mumbai International Airport. 

“The ads are present even at smaller airports like Goa where there’s an influx of people coming in from different parts of the country. The idea is to reach people through different ways and at different places. The travelling user sometimes has a lot of time on their hands and that is a time when you don't expect something between the automobile ads and the insurance ads. A colourful content ad surprises them and just holds their attention,” he says. 

Have news to share? Write to us