Imagine being able to watch all your former favourite shows right from Office Office, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin to Comedy Circus seasons, at any time and place, and that too from a single portal without having to scout through a hundred videos on YouTube. That’s the newly launched ‘Sony LIV’ for you. Sony LIV is a Video-on-Demand service by Multi Screen Media (formerly SET India) that runs the Sony bouquet of channels – Sony, SAB and MAX.
Via Sony LIV, users can not only serve themselves to currently running shows, but also be able to watch episodes from the yesteryears like mentioned earlier. There are 2801 shows ranging in all genres like Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, etc. Users can also watch archives of events like Stardust and Filmfare Awards dating back to the past 17 years. Apart from the website, the portal also has a mobile version built for iOS and Android.
How it works?
The site welcomes you with a demo video featuring animated characters. One can watch shows, classics, events and movies through the menutab. Events and movies is in ‘coming soon’ mode though. You can always watch content as a guest, but there are some features that need you to register. Register and Login buttons, both take you to Facebook login, which does not work at the moment. I had a tough time trying to login, to be able to use some of the features.
In addition to the menu options, you can also watch stuff categorised under ’24 hours’, ‘Trending’, ‘Most followed’ and ‘Most liked’. There is also a search button at the top, but when I searched for a favourite show of mine ‘Malgudi Days’ that used to be telecast on Sony, the website encountered an unexpected error. Hope they have the rights to stream the show now!
There are basically 3 interesting features - Mood Wheel, My Q and LIV Guru. With Mood wheel, you can search for videos based on mood/genre like Romantic, Emotional, WOW! and time preferences like 5, 10, 20 or 40 minutes. The My Q feature is only for registered users where they can create their own playlists of their favourite videos. So basically, you can Q-up, sit back and watch all your favourite shows uninterrupted. The LIV Guru feature is for loyal fans and can get you points for every minute you spend on the portal. These points will eventually enable you to win goodies, gift hampers and visits to the show sets.
Sony LIV on social media
Although brand new, it is good to see the website actively engaging on Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook page has already garnered close to 4K fans and posts show decent fan engagement in terms of comments, likes and shares. The Twitter page is occupied in solving queries and bringing about active conversations. Even though brand updates are similar for both the social networks, there is a cool two-way communication in the pages.
These are very early days for the product and there are so many questions. It is good to see the website indulging in a sound social media strategy, where it not only talks about the product but also replies to your queries and works up your curiosity to go try it.
The road ahead for Sony LIV
Online video has been referred as one of the positive trends by pundits for 2013 and ahead. Online premium video or video on demand both aspects have been in the radar for businesses and Sony LIV with a database of 17 years content has made the right move like it’s competitors such as Star, Zee have already done.
However, the challenges with such services are that the providers cannot rely on duplicate content alone but would need to show exclusive content available at any time and viewed from any device. Sony clearly understands them and this could be one of the reasons of going live on web and mobile simultaneously. Nitesh Kripalani, SVP (New Media, Business Development and Digital/Syndication) at Multi Screen Media indicated that the launch has already seen 20 to 30% visitors from mobile. I am sure that this percentage will grow with infrastructure becoming more favourable.
These are early days and along with video-on-demand Sony LIV will have to think of adding features such as live programmes and second screen experience where users can interact with the programmes at run time. This would not only increase their pie on the revenue shares that the site plans to earn via advertisements but will also help it to cut the growing competition in the online video business.