Lionsgate seems to be doing content specific partnerships in India: giving different buckets of content to different streaming services. SonyLIV will offer Lionsgate content as premium offering ‘Lionsgate Play’ following the inking of a “multi-year strategic content deal” between the two entities.
We checked the service which includes titles like Power, The White Queen, The White Princess, Vida, Survivor’s Remorse, Sweetbitter and Crash. Other titles announced (but not yet available on the app) include Chasing Life, Manhattan, Wildfire, Con Man, Insomnia and the not-yet-launched The Spanish Princess. All in all, there is 500 hours of programming planned. Lionsgate Play will be bundled along with SonyLIV’s premium offering which is priced at Rs 99 per month, 299 for six months and Rs 499 per year.
Note that in 2017, Amazon Prime Video had inked a “long-term exclusive deal” with Lionsgate for titles such as La La Land, the Twilight Saga, Deepwater Horizon, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Power Rangers, Red, Step Up 5, Nashville, The Royals, Graves, Mad Men, Anger Management and The Shack. We checked and found that these titles are still available on Amazon Prime, and thus not a part of this SonyLIV deal.
The challenge with all these exclusive deals is that not all content is available on all service providers, which means that users have to sign up with different providers: that’s more expensive, and this won’t adequately address piracy. Exclusivity also means that content becomes (relatively) more expensive for streaming services to get.
I’m reminded of two things, related to music, but relevant for video as well:
Firstly, a story I did on the music industry situation following the demise of Dhingana a few years ago highlighting the issues of exclusivity, and how a platform approach is the most consumer friendly, citing a defunct mime360 as an example.
Secondly, a recent report from the Indian Music Industry, which cited something interesting about China:
Refraining from exclusive licensing arrangements: The Chinese government discouraged exclusive licensing to prevent the creation of a monopoly, or a ‘one horse’ or ‘two horse race’. “When a label’s license is across the board, more competitors are in the sphere.”
Read our policy overview of that here.