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WHY SONY IS BETTING BIG ON FOOTBALL FEVER

BY SONAM SAINI

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As Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI) gears up for the two biggest football tournaments, UEFA EURO 2020 and Copa América 2021, to widen its audience reach for the upcoming sports properties, the network has now launched its first regional sports channel – TEN 4. The channel will be available in Tamil and Telugu across the Southern regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. SPNI has also roped in actor Rana Daggubati as the face of the channel. The actor will be promoting WWE’s programming in Tamil and Telugu.
Speaking on the launch of the new sports channel, Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head – Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, says that Tamil and Telugu are the two biggest markets in the country. The viewership data indicates that the audience wants to consume content in the language they’re more comfortable with. “Both the markets contribute 20% to the overall TV viewing audience in the country. Also, between these two states, the consumption of regional languages (Tamil and Telugu) in their respective states is close to 80% of total TV viewing in the local language. Hence, we decided to have a channel dedicated to Tamil and Telugu audiences,” explains Kaul.

The network has a busy sports calendar for the next 6-8 months, which will begin with the upcoming EURO 2020 that was postponed earlier on account of the pandemic. The network will telecast the tournament in six languages to reach wider audience across India: English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. UEFA EURO 2020 will be held in 11 cities across Europe featuring 24 of the best teams starting June 11, 2021, and it will be live on Sony TEN 2, Sony TEN 3, Sony SIX, and Sony TEN 4 channels as well as on SonyLIV.
Despite broadcasters witnessing a decline in ad revenue in the current situation, Kaul is hopeful that there will be a huge ad revenue growth and the overall sports pie will be much bigger than the last year. He notes, “The response we got from advertisers for EURO has been excellent. As we charge a premium for these events, advertisers are thrilled to spend big money on these impact properties. And we don’t see any problem whatsoever. We still have some days to go for EURO, and we expect that 70% of our inventory will be soon sold on both linear and digital platforms. I am optimistic that we will make Rs 200 crore in revenue between SonyLIV and all the linear channels put together.”
He also notes that, unlike last year, it’s unlikely to have a sports event getting postponed or cancelled this time. The network also owns the media rights for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which scheduled to be held from July 23- August 8, 2021, in Tokyo. “The sports bodies have figured out the ways to hold the tournaments. There were some worries when the India tour of Australia happened last year, but eventually, the tour went on without any hiccups, including the stadium’s spectators.” The 16th edition of UEFA EURO 2020 will have 51 games over 30 days of entertainment. Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will host the opening match on June 12, while the finals on July 12 will be held at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London.

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Tags : Sonam Saini Rajesh Kaul Sony Pictures Sony Sports Copa America UEFA EURO 2020