NEW YORK – Up until two weeks ago, if you were to get a sudden urge to watch an older episode of “Kaun Banega Krorepati,” you would not have been able to.
Ditto for a particular dance performance that you recall having seen on one of the reality dance shows on Sony’s TV channel. Unless, of course, you had been taping all the episodes on your DVR.
The same would have been true for several of Sony’s web original serials that your family was watching in India but you could not in the U.S. Some of these may have been serials like “Lovebytes,” “Married Women’s Diaries,” and “Pyar Ishq Rent,” among others.
All that changed last week, however, when Sony Pictures Networks’ U.S. operations announced the launch of SonyLIV, which is an OTT (Over the Top) streaming platform, also known as their premium video on demand service.
To access content on SonyLIV, one does not need to have either cable or satellite – all you will need is access to an internet service.
The SonyLIV content is being offered to consumers in the U.S. through Sling. Whereas the stand-alone service will be priced at $6 per month, it will be much cheaper for those who are already Sling customers.
According to Liz Riemersma, Sling’s Director of International Marketing, SonyLIV had already been launched in India several years ago, but it was only last week that it was made available to consumers in the U.S.
One of the key advantages of subscribing to SonyLIV, according to Riemersma, will be that fans of Sony’s content will be able to access and watch any episode of any Sony TV show, even going as far back as 20 years. And not just from their flagship channel SET (Sony Entertainment Television) channel, but also from their other major channels that include Sony SAB (comedy channel), Sony MAX & MAX2 (movie channels), Sony Yay! (children’s channel), Sony Aath (Bengali Channel), Sony Pal (archival content channel), and Sony Marathi.
According to Jaideep (Jai) Janakiram, Senior VP for International Business–Head of the Americas, Sony has a total of 26 channels in India but only eight of them will be offered in the U.S. He told India-West that Sony has amassed around 40,000+ hours of content in India from the day they began, but that only 20,000+ hours of this content will currently be available to viewers in the U.S. Besides being able to watch older episodes, subscribers will also be able to stream several new web original shows that have been produced in India for SONYLIV only.
According to Riemersma, many of these new shows are bolder in their themes and more edgy in their style of presentation. This, she added, is partially in response to the bolder shows being offered by Netflix and Amazon Prime, and partially in response to demands from the millennial section of Sony’s audience.
Janakiram listed some of the shows that have been produced as web originals by Sony in India. These include “Lovebytes,” “Married Women Diaries,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “16,” which deals with rape incidents on younger women.
“But,” added Janakiram, “there are several original series with amazing storylines aimed at global audiences and top star casts, that are currently in production in India.” These include serials such as “Avrodh,” “Your Honor,” “Undekhi,” and “Scam 1992,” all world class productions, stressed Janakiram.
“And let us not forget the Glocal shows being produced right here in the U.S.,” he added. (Glocal refers to local shows with global appeal.). “We have showcased content here such as ‘Meet the Drapers’, ‘Keys to Kismet’, South Asian Spelling Bee, American College Cricket and AVS, and are currently in the process of planning some more,” Janakiram told India-West.
Readers may log on to www.sling.com to get more details on accessing SonyLIV.