New Delhi: SonyLIV, the over-the-top (OTT) video streaming service of Sony Pictures Network (SPN) has partnered with American studio Lionsgate for a multi-year strategic content deal. The partnership will see an embedded Lionsgate Play destination bundled within the SonyLIV app with the new assortment of shows available for viewing under SonyLIV Premium for ₹ 99 for a month, ₹ 299 for six months and ₹ 499 for a year.
“We want to have a big play in the subscription market which is growing at a rapid pace in India," said Uday Sodhi, business head, digital, Sony Pictures Networks India. “As part of that effort, our partnership with Lionsgate is strategic because we want to bring a large pool of the best shows available worldwide for Indian audiences. With Lionsgate, I see us well-placed to tackle the subscription space along with what we already have in terms of sports and movies."
The 500 plus hours of original content from Lionsgate on SonyLIV will include some of its most popular television series including crime drama Power, British period drama series The White Queen, historical fiction series The White Princess, Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, comedy show Are We There Yet? and sports comedy Survivor’s Remorse, among others. Much of this content will be exclusive to SonyLIV though some Lionsgate shows are already available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Sodhi said Sony was looking to bring in an anchor partner for its subscription business which is a major focus area for the company and will continue to expand on the Lionsgate library after the first set of content goes out. The new offerings will help Sony go beyond audiences hooked on to its sports content. Unlike Sony, most other players in the OTT space have chosen to look towards Bollywood production houses to build their libraries. For example, Amazon has partnered with Yash Raj Films, Salman Khan Ventures and Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions while Netflix has rights to films from Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment.
“Indian audiences are exposed to a fair amount of international content thanks to social media. In fact, consumers don’t differentiate between languages when it comes to good content. Consumers of this content from Lionsgate will be premium, English-speaking audiences from metros," Sodhi said.
To be sure, Lionsgate Films that made its foray into India last year, benefits from the partnership too.
“As we expand into different markets, we always look for partners who have a deep understanding of and significant presence in them," said Rohit Jain, managing director, Lionsgate India. “Sony has a great legacy of content in India and this opportunity comes at a good time because while they have a strong line-up of sports and local content, they were looking to strengthen their English-language library. So this fell into a complementary space for both of us."