New Delhi: Starting this month, users of video streaming service Sony LIV will be able to view seven more international television channels, in addition to the existing five.

Sony Pictures Networks India, the film and television company behind Sony LIV, on Wednesday signed an agreement with global media giant SPI International to this effect.

SonyLIV, an over-the-top (OTT) service launched in 2013, offers a mix of premium and free content, and is one of the 30 such services in India.

SPI International operates more than 35 television channels in over 50 countries worldwide. It has thematic and movie channels broadcast in Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Australia and North America.

The channels that will come on SonyLIV are FilmBox Art House featuring award winning, independent and art movies; Fightbox, a martial arts network; Fast&Furious, a sports and lifestyle channel; documentary channel Docubox; fashion network Fashionbox; independent music video channel 360TuneBox; and Gametoon, an entertainment channel targeting millennials.

“We are delighted to announce our strategic partnership with SPI International. With this association, we bring to our audiences, content from seven additional international channels across different genres," said Uday Sodhi, executive vice-president and head, digital business, Sony Pictures Networks. “We continue to live to our core brand message of ‘We LIV to Entertain’ by bringing the best of content from across the world."

Sodhi said content from SPI will add to existing channels like Sony Set HD, Sony Max HD, Sony Sab HD, Sony BBC Earth and Sony Mix.

“As SPI is committed to expanding its distribution footprint in Asia, we are excited to deliver top quality television programming to viewers in India, thanks to the recent launch of our worldwide channels on SonyLIV," said Murat Muratoglu, head of distribution for the Middle East and North Africa region, Turkey, Asia-Pacific, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Baltics, Bulgaria and ex-Yugo, SPI.

The SPI-Sony agreement comes at a time when digital entertainment infrastructure is making rapid strides in India. According to the Ficci-KPMG Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2017, in India, the number of video-capable devices and connections are expected to grow 2.2-fold between 2016 and 2021, reaching 800 million in number. The consumption of video content in India has increased manifold on the back of higher Internet speeds, affordable smartphones and cheaper data rates.

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