Whether you are interested in watching your favorite old school Indian television show or an edgy web-series about Harshad Mehta’s 1992 stock market scam, SonyLIV, India’s fifth-largest pay-television broadcaster has your entertainment needs covered. SonyLIV is exclusively available to US subscribers through Sling Television (Sling TV), which is owned by DISH Network Corp.
DISH Network and Sling TV customers in the US can now enjoy on-demand Bollywood and American movies and shows on SonyLIV from one of the top streaming platforms in India. US viewers can now enjoy exclusive programming on the SonyLIV platform, which has already received more than 100 million downloads in India. The power-packed international lineup includes access to 20,000 episodes available to all Dish Network subscribers free of cost who have $30 plus packages. SonyLIV is FREE to subscribers who pay $30 plus/month for the packages that include the SET linear service.
“If you are subscribing to all of our channels, this is our give back to you,” said Jaideep Janakiram, senior vice president of International Business- Head of the Americas at Sony Pictures Networks, in an interview with News India Times. The value that comes with the SonyLIV is that you can go back in time and watch your favorite TV shows, movies, and episodes on demand and also get access to some of Sony Television’s newest programming.”
On regular channels (non-streaming), when someone is watching TV, they can only access programming for seven days, even with DVR functionality there are limits. But with the SonyLIV, subscribers can now access Sony Television programming at any time, Janakiram said. SonyLIV could offer programming and content that aired as far back as 25 years ago if the programming team felt that it met quality and technical standards, Janakiram added.
So whether you want to catch up on your favorite Sony Television serials like Amitabh Bachan’s critically acclaimed serial “Yudh” or access the eagerly awaited web series “Avrodh”- SonyLIV is your platform.
SonyLIV is free for DISH Network customers with Hindi, Hindi Sony, Hindi Gold, Hindi Mega, Hindi Premium, Urdu Hindi or Punjabi Hindi services through Sling TV. SonyLIV is also available as an add-on for DISH Network customers for $4 per month who currently don’t have the above packages. And for subscribers who don’t want any package at all, SonyLIV programming costs $6 per month through Sling TV without any long-term contract.
In addition to popular hit shows “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, “Beyhadh”, “Crime Patrol”, “Ladies Special”, “Mere Sai” and others, SonyLIV offers regional language programming in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bangla, and Marathi. SonyLIV subscribers can access more than 200 films, far more than the pre-programmed offerings available on most channels.
SonyLIV Re-inventing Indian Entertainment
Online video streaming is a $24 billion industry and with the entire global population clamoring for new, original content, demand for streaming platforms like SonyLIV is expected to explode. Worldwide revenue from OTT platforms is expected to nearly double to $158 billion in 2024 from 84.76 billion in 2019, according to data collected by Statista.
According to Janakiram, SonyLIV will be the “new content hub” featuring original web series produced by Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), a leader in South Asian entertainment.
“SonyLIV web originals can only be seen on SonyLIV and nowhere else. It’s edgier content for contemporary audiences. We want to reach younger audiences that are not inclined to watch traditional television who want on-demand and original programming,” said Janakiram.
SonyLIV’s current lineup of web originals includes the Tamil crime thriller “Iru Dhuruvam” and “Lovebytes”, a series that portrays trials and tribulations of romantic relationships in modern times. Web originals like “Married Women Diaries”, “16”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Holycross”, and “Pyar Ishq Rent” are also designed for millennial audiences who want programming without the commitment of long-term contracts.
And when it comes to new content, Sony Pictures Networks has already boosted spending on the SonyLIV platform in both content and technology, Janakiram said.
“The market in India is changing from the first phase of distribution SonyLIV. We are now in SonyLIV 2.0, which will have a modern and new user-friendly interface and high budget quality and production value web originals,” said Janakiram.
SonyLIV will soon release “Avrodh”, a web series recounting the surgical strikes after the 2016 Uri terrorist attack featuring Amit Sadh from Amazon Prime’s “Breathe”. Audiences are also eagerly waiting for the release of the Israeli remake- “Your Honor,” a story about a judge who turns his back on justice after his son is involved in a hit-and-run accident.
“Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story” about the real-life 1992 stock market scam, which resulted in ground-breaking reforms, including the formation of the Securities and Exchange Board of India, is another eagerly awaited series, according to reports.
Janakiram says that based on licensing rights, subscribers in the US will be able to access many of these new shows through Sling TV.
“Our overall strategy is to bring the newest and most innovative content from respective home countries and deliver that to the US,” said Liz Riemersma, director of International Marketing at Sling TV in an interview with News India Times. “There’s an exciting explosion and proliferation of content in India. It is a very hot market in terms of content development, production, and creativity. We see that there is an enormous spend that’s taken place in India in the past couple of years. The South Asian diaspora is content-hungry, and we want to make sure we at Sling TV are center stage,” Riemsersma said.
Sony Television’s long-standing relationship with DISH Network, reputation and its ability to capture the Indian audiences worldwide have been significant factors cementing the partnership between the two companies, Riemsersma said. “The partnership made sense not only to capture linear content but also opened us up to new subscribers,” Riemserma added.
Janakiram says he hopes that the platform will open up opportunities for more locally produced content from artists and producers in the US and diaspora. For many years, programming and content has flowed from India into the diaspora, but with SonyLIV there’s a great opportunity to produce local content.
“There is a vast pool of diasporic talent, and SonyLIV could give them that platform to reach a global audience. I am deeply passionate about producing local content for global audiences. Now through SonyLIV, that can potentially be achieved,” Janakiram said.
Janakiram said he urges US producers and content creators to directly pitch ideas and pilots to Sony Television offices in New York City.