Life after IPL for Sony Pictures Networks

Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India lost out the fresh bid for Indian Premiere League (IPL) media rights for five years yesterday (September 4, 2017) to Star India. SPN had bid an amount of Rs 11,050 crore for the India sub-continent TV rights. Star India’s consolidated bid amount was Rs 16,347.50 crore. 

SPN had been home to the IPL tournament since its inception 10 years ago and has developed the property to its current strength. A fact that the broadcaster put forth in an official statement issued post losing the bid, wherein it stated, “Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has nurtured IPL since its inception and within a span of 10 years established it as one of the most popular sporting properties in the world. We would like to thank all those who supported us in curating the lineage and legacy of IPL.” 

It also added, “At the same time, we take this opportunity of wishing Star India the best as they shape IPL over the next five years.” 

Speaking on what SPN should next, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, remarked, “Sony has to rethink and reconsider their strategy. IPL is not the beginning and the end of viewership in India. Though it’s an important part of viewership for those particular months, but a lot of movies and other programmes have also got very good viewership in the past, even though the sports events were doing well at that time on television. So, I think each channel has to decide its own strategies. Since these are very sound channels, I think they must be having their own strategies well planned.” 

And plan Sony has. The network recently beefed up its sports offering by grouping its sports brands together under the business vertical – Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN). With the addition of 2 new HD channels – Sony Ten 2 HD and Sony Ten 3 HD, Sony now has 11 channels dedicated to bringing the best domestic and international sporting action to viewers. 

The diversified portfolio of content in SPN has distinct positioning across its 11 channels and the sports business gets a further boost with none other than Sachin Tendulkar as SPN’s Ambassador for Sports. 

SPN’s statement further added, “With our recent acquisition of the Ten Sports network, the sports network of Sony Pictures Networks India holds the broadcast rights to five Cricket Boards, guaranteeing that our channels will continue to offer a strong mix of programming for cricket fans.” 

Reiterating his confidence in Sony, Bhasin said, “It is a strong channel and they are pretty capable of doing well and they will surely work on this and come up with distinctive strategies.”

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