Sony plans new initiatives for World Cup fans

The official broadcaster for the FIFA World Cup, Sony India, increases coverage to six languages and also announces a star-studded panel for its pre, mid and post-match studio live show.

The broadcaster has added Tamil and Telugu to its already announced English, Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam live regional feeds.   -  Vino John

With less than a week for the much-awaited kickoff to the FIFA World Cup, the official broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) announced a host of new initiatives to take fan engagements to new levels. The broadcaster has added Tamil and Telugu to its already announced English, Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam live regional feeds.

Additionally, SPN announced a star-studded panel for its pre,mid and post-match studio live show in Hindi and English. Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri will feature alongside former captain Bhaichung Bhutia, while former international players such as Luis Garcia, former Manchester United forward Louis Saha and former England goalkeeper David James, will also feature in the show.

Prasana Krishan, SPN’s Head of Sports Content, in Chennai on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement


Prasana Krishnan, SPN’s Head of Sports Content, in a chat with Sportstar, said, ”We have seen the last 12 months the numbers for football viewership in India, which includes U-17 World Cup, European football, and it was 350 million. About 10 years ago, hundred percent of it (viewership) was in English. They had a compulsion to watch it in English. But in the recent times, TV viewership for sports in this country has become more regional and 75 per cent of the viewership is coming from non-English audiences. We have been aggressively campaigning for the regional reach and have designed our promotions according to that.”

This will be the first time that the FIFA World Cup is being telecast in multiple languages in India besides English. The broadcaster will also be launching an app on major mobile platforms to enable fans to have an uninterrupted and a seamless transition to various platforms. “The app will be synchronised with the live feed and fans can engage themselves by playing and strategising. The fans can also follow their favourite team, ” he explained.

Krishnan was of the opinion that international markets play a vital role in broadcast strategies. It can be recalled that the El Clasico had a prime-time kickoff to suit the Indian (Asian) audience. "Maybe ten years ago, the focus of the European leagues used to be on domestic markets. However, the popularity trends are changing. For instance, La Liga football used to be late night kick offs previously, but has now been done in ten different time slots in the weekends, starting in the afternoon and going on into late nights keeping the convenience in mind in Asia, Europe, and North and South America. It is a recognition of the fact that international markets are important,” he added.

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