[Interview] Digital doesn’t have few metrics like that on television: Amogh Dusad, SonyLIV

Amogh Dusad
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Amogh Dusad from SonyLIV takes us through the journey of content on the platform with Originals, Live Sports and heart-warming shows in the limelight.

2019 has been a busy year for SonyLIV. Not only did the app up its content game but also announced a number of changes in the leadership team.

In conversation with Social Samosa, Amogh Dusad as Head – Programming and New Initiatives, Digital Business, SonyLIV recaps the year with an emphasis on what lies ahead for the bullish team.

Excerpts

How was 2019 for SonyLiv? Please share the key highlights of the brand’s performance.

2019 has been an exciting year for SonyLIV. Our Hollywood line-up has become better. We launched certain shows with the U.S. We also took sports behind a paywall this year which gave us good traction on the subscription piece.

One of the big achievements for the year was KBC play-along which was in-house. Our tech-team had driven it. The team almost had a glitch-free experience, this year with tremendous consumer-retention. Content-partnerships with TVF also came into being. Ripleys Season 2 and then Gullak were also launched.

Now with Danish at the helm and leading business for digital, we are putting a blueprint for the business.

What were some of the consumer behavioral trends witnessed in 2019? What kind of content works best in the Indian market?

  • Some of the big IPs like Kapil Sharma, Indian Idol, Alladin, Balvir, Taarak Mehta all do well on the platform.
  • Live Sport is another pillar that gets a lot of traction catapulted with the events.
  • We have a 10 mins free window where we get a lot of viewership on the preview space.

SonyLIV has been banking big on sports content. How has it performed for the OTT app?

We have a strong bouquet of sports channel as a network. Some of the properties digitally premier on the platform. In Live sports, some of the key properties we have are in Tennis, Football, NBA and live cricket. All of them have their sets of loyal audiences. They’re largely platform-agnostic audiences who love their sport and want to follow their sport wherever they are streaming.

Because the matches happen at odd times and across the world, it works to our advantage as an OTT match. It’s also a competitive advantage in the OTT landscape because there are only a couple of us who offer live sports in the offering.

Not just OTT platforms, even social media apps are now getting into Original Content. Do you think Original Content as a medium to attain a certain objective is working?

Originals will form an important part of the OTT platform primarily for two reasons

  • If you want to bring in ‘exclusivity’ to your platform for content.
  • If want to create a pipeline of products on your platform.

It is also the brand positioning and the connection which you have for your consumer. The proposition of creating engaging scripted drama series which are only available on your platform makes a strong business sense.

In terms of consumer retention and lead generation, how does sports content help?

If there’s a live match happening, you will be watching the live-match. So, the relevance of having sports and competitive advantage of having such content as one of your offerings is tremendous.

Especially if you want to build a business, it gives you a strong reason to market and draw in very sharp propositions for consumers.

Putting an example to explain better- the Euro is going to be premiered on the platform, next year. And it is like FIFA for the country. Hence, is a big property for them. So, it’s a great proposition to go out in the market and for us to drive our subscriptions and ensure that the traffic that comes in has a great experience.

Also read: Interview: Abhishek Joshi on why ‘Everytainment’ works for MX Player

What parameters does SonyLiv have in place to measure RoI on how a certain content format is performing?

There is a multitude of parameters.

This is one of the good aspects about digital. One doesn’t have to follow a single or a few metrics like that on Television. You would have variables like watch-time, sessions, waterfall ratios, duplications, exit points, and others because the user-journey on digital for a platform is very well mapped.

We can very well map at what point the user exits, how many people started the first episode and how many moved to the second episode.

In terms of ability to measure and put targets, its quite there. And I think one would use the advantage of having all this data to ensure that quality observations and others are passed on to the content creators or suppliers and help enhance the experience on the platform.

In your new role, what are the key changes we’re expecting in SonyLiv? What does your To-Do look like?

What we are working together as a team, is to keep the consumer at the center of the table and work our business strategy around it.

The good part about OTT and consumer-driven experience is that business success comes working along with the consumer. If the consumer is happy with your platform, invariably you will meet your business targets. And that’s what we are trying to do keeping things simple and fantastic for the consumer. If we have a consumer who downloads the app, enjoys the experience then we have many more advocates.

So, I would summarize by saying that putting the consumer at the center, and building a strong business around user-experience is crucial to us.

Please take us through your content plan for 2020. What are your plans for 2020? What will be your USP to break the clutter of the OTT industry in the coming year?

For 2020, we have a mix of content that includes originals, regional programming, sports, and offering on gaming and interactivity for shows topped with an overhaul of the consumer experience on the app.

In addition to a bullish content plan, what kind of a content distribution strategy do you in place for the coming year?

While it’s a fast-changing landscape even in the ecosystem of OTT apps, there are smart TV penetrations happening all-around and we would like to ensure that we are present at all crucial consumer touchpoints.

The intention is to strike a direct relationship with the consumer instead of going via some other platform. But we acknowledge the fact that the market is moving fast, people have started moving towards apps and even to bigger screens as smart tv penetration rises and we want to be a part of the ecosystem and close to the consumer.  

We aim to do whatever innovation required to make the user-journey better on the app.


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Aishwarrya Chakraverty
A storyteller and a narrator by heart, vocalist by genes and a thesaurus-bee. Also, an explorer, traveler, and trekker, Aishwarrya has myriads of interests with love for music and movies. Writing is not just a hobby but her first love with a Facebook page on perspectives, channelizing the passion. Got her research paper published with IGI Global US on music. A maverick by nature and a feminist by choice, to challenge stereotypes.