Netflix and Amazon Prime have been going great guns with India-focused content development and programming since 2019. Come Thursday, and SonyLIV, the video-on-demand service owned by Sony Pictures, is throwing its hat into the crowded OTT ring through its premium offerings. The company has already relaunched its website with a flashy new design and has already started updating its mobile application. Part of the relaunch includes a brand new avatar with new originals and exclusives lined up on its Premium service. As a result, the company is also increasing the subscription for its premium service, though new prices haven’t been announced.
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The subscriptions for OTT service grew exponentially post the Covid-19 lockdown starting March 25 this year. Though the Big-2 have not revealed numbers Zee reported a spike in daily active users and app downloads by 33% and 41% respectively. While Alt Balaji reported a 60% increase in its daily subscriber base post the lockdown. Though SonyLIV may have missed out on this early advantage, they are seeking to catch up by launching India-based programming that includes original and exclusive series from Sony Pictures. There’s the Jimmy Shergill-starrer ‘Your Honour’, a remake from an Israeli program, the legal drama ‘For Life’ and the Ranvir Shorey-led Kadakh which is a feature film about a cheating husband.
With these and many more exclusive movies such as Spiderman coming, it may still be a good time to pick up an annual subscription for Rs.499 that would remain in force for the next three days. The Amit Sadh starrer ‘Avrodh – The Siege Within’ based on the surgical strikes post the Uri terror attack. The movie has been directed by Raj Acharya who helmed ’21 Sarfarosh’, a highly popular series on Netflix. There is also ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story’ which is based on the 1992 stock market scam, directed by Hansal Mehta.
SonyLIV is also reportedly working with some major directors including Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari of Nil Battey Sannata, Nikhil Advani, Nitesh Tiwari of Chhichhore, Rohan Sippy and stand-up comedian and show host Kapil Sharma. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Sony Pictures can retrieve lost ground, given that even Apple TV Plus is now getting ready to join the fun alongside the already existing biggies. A major issue that SonyLIV may have is the total absence of regional content, which fuels even someone like Amazon Prime which recently bought four south Indian movies for premiering them exclusively.