Sony मराठी, a premium entertainment channel in the Marathi language segment from Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN),
True to its positioning of ‘VinuyaAtutNaati’ (weaving unbreakable relationships), Sony मराठी endeavors to weave bonds of genuine emotions with each life it touches, through its innovative and engaging content.
A testament to the appreciation from audience cutting across urban, semi-urban, and smaller towns, Sony मराठी has been able to outstrip/surpass leading players in the space within a span of three years. The channel has managed an overall GRP of 101 in FY2021, which has tripled from the initial 30 GRP in FY 2018.
Ajay Bhalwankar, Business Head, Sony मराठी spoke exclusively to MediaNews4U on the completion of 3 years, out of the box content, and much more…
Sony Marathi completes 3 years, how has the journey been?
Would love to describe it in one word that is ‘Stimulating’ and we have made our offering very ‘Exhilarating’ for our audiences and this has been validated with the growth in channel reach since launch till date. We launched the channel with a clear vision of making positive content that is a true reflection of progressive Maharashtra and not sticking to societal stereotypes. The flavor of our content has been well received by the Marathi audience and we sprinted to 101 GRPs in less than 3 years.
You ventured into this market late, how have you upped your content to stay ahead of the competition?
The USP of our content is that it illustrates an enterprising protagonist with wit, resilience, and reinforcing progressive thoughts. The antagonists are also equally enterprising and root for their own vested interests. The channel has a healthy dose of variety in its content like historical, devotional, crime, and passionate love stories with high family drama. Our female protagonists are progressive and reflect the sensibilities of new-age Maharashtrians which makes our content more relatable. We are the only channel in the MGEC that offer 7days of Non-Fiction which is Kon Honaar Crorepati and Maharashtra chi Hasya Jatra.
2020 was terrible; also there was no fresh content available for nearly 4 months. How did you make sure that your audience was entertained?
2020 brought new opportunities for us and we cashed on it. We launched a new show amidst lockdown and redefined content production forever. Aathsekhidkyanaushedaar was shot on mobile phones at artists’ homes and then televised as a full-fledge episode. This was one of its kind initiative in MGEC space and it was very well received by the audience. This innovation coupled with the positive nature of the content gave impetus to the whole channel and we became the close second channel in terms of reach.
Today there is an onslaught of OTT content, be it Hindi or regional content. How, as a regional challenge, are you bringing in out-of-the-box content and cutting-edge tech solutions for the channel?
We look upon OTT as a complementing platform and not competing for a platform. In fact, we are the only Marathi channel to have ‘Play along’ concept in Kon Honaar Crorepati (KHC) wherein people can play Crorepati while watching it on TV. This brings digital consumers to TV. Our content is consumed on Sony LIV which helps in content sampling and thus boosting word of mouth for the brand. OTT content is created catering to urban sensibilities across age groups and our channel content is for family viewing. This gives us a dual benefit of OTT audience and TV audience.
What is the reach of the channel and in terms of GRP’s where do you stand?
Sony मराठी has now overtaken Colors Marathi at no. 3 in weekly reach.
Sony मराठी weekly reach is 25% v/s Colors Marathi weekly reach 21.6 %
(BARC Maha Urban 15+ AA week 28-week 30)
Prime Time reach @15.6% close to Colors Marathi @16.1%
Daily reach @ 10.2% which is close to Colors Marathi daily reach @ 10.9% (wk 28-wk 30 avg)
Growing viewership is across markets in Maharashtra
Channel is gaining viewership across all market’s within urban audiences like metros, mini-metros, and even smaller towns
What will be the innovations in content to woo fresh audiences?
We have already expanded the prime time by starting Navnath at 6:30 pm. We are working with new production houses like Balaji telefilms to give different looks and feel to Marathi content. We have already launched a crime genre show which is running successfully.
We plan to bring big-ticket shows in Non-Fiction and Fiction to Marathi television which will further enrich the content basket and viewer experience…