SonyLiv, the streaming platform operated by Sony Pictures Network, is undergoing what appears to be a considerable overhaul. With a sleeker interface, three new original shows on book and the claim of a better overall experience, SonyLiv has been running a promotional offer since the past couple of days, offering the service to existing subscribers at Rs 499 for one year. While the new pricing has not been announced, it is possible that Sony starts charging Rs 999 per year as its revised pricing. This would bring it level with what an annual Amazon Prime subscription costs, although initial questions will be raised about whether SonyLiv can manage the same user experience that its international competitors are already offering.
To make the 'all new' SonyLiv look more appealing to a wider set of audience, Sony Pictures has announced three original shows, which will air on SonyLiv from Thursday, June 18. These include Your Honour – a remake of Israel's Kvodo, featuring Jimmy Shergill at the helm. The other two include English legal drama For Life, produced by ABC and headlined by Nicholas Pinnock, and Indian show Kadakh – a relationship drama starring Ranvir Shorey and Mansi Multani. Alongside all of this, SonyLiv still has its sports rights to cash in on, with Premium subscribers getting access to TEN Sports live TV, as well as packaged telecasts of WWE, UFC, the UEFA Champions League and other sporting events.
While SonyLiv's show roster is not weak, what has typically cost Sony in the lucrative streaming race is the lack of refinement in its app, as well as lacklustre streaming quality. The SonyLiv app has often delivered a half-baked streaming experience, offering pixelated feeds even on excellent network strengths. On top of the bad and unintuitive user experience design, sporting events have taken a back seat due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the future of sports broadcast remains unclear, which may have set the alarm bells ringing at Sony.
Add to that Hotstar's strong run in India, and SonyLiv appears to be taking the streaming game seriously, only now. Hotstar, on the other hand, has produced a series of original or exclusive shows, largely via international syndications. Its latest partnership with Disney to integrate the Disney+ service has also worked wonders. With all of this included, it will be interesting to see how far SonyLiv's new journey impacts users, and if it finally manages to attract new users based on the strength of its content quality. More details shall be revealed when the 'new' SonyLiv goes live, tomorrow.