New Delhi: With an eye on expanding its regional repertoire, Sony Pictures Networks India has appointed G. Dhananjayan as head – Tamil content, digital business for its video streaming service SonyLIV. In his new role, Dhananjayan will spearhead the launch of Tamil content to drive the platform’s expansion plans for users who prefer programming in the language in India and international markets.

Dhananjayan, who has worked with film production houses, marketing and distribution divisions across Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi languages, was last associated with BOFTA – Blue Ocean Film and Television Academy, a film institute based in Chennai. His previous stints include conglomerates such as Kansai-Nerolac Paints, Saregama-HMV, Airtel, Vodafone, Moser Baer Entertainment, and Disney-UTV.

At SonyLIV, he will be responsible for curating and strengthening the Tamil content catalogue, the company said in a statement.

“We are pleased to have G. Dhananjayan on-board to oversee SonyLIV’s Tamil market expansion. We aim to strengthen our portfolio in the Tamil market,” Ashish Golwalkar, head – content, SET and digital business said in a statement.

Dhananjayan said it would be exciting to be part of the platform’s journey in bringing stories that engage, entertain and stand out from the clutter in the Tamil market.

To be sure, all media experts agree video streaming services will have to continue to focus on local language, original content across vernacular languages if they wish to penetrate deeper into the Indian heartland. According to the annual media and entertainment report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) along with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), 35-40% of the consumption on OTT services happens in local languages and the hours of original programming that has tripled between 2018 and 2020, now stands at 1,400-1,800, as of 2020, across services.

While foreign services like Netflix and Amazon are dabbling in Tamil, Telugu and other regional language originals, homegrown OTT service ZEE5 released almost two originals per month across Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Kannada over the past few months. Plus there has been consolidation and advent of language-focused services such as Hoichoi (Bengali), aha Video (Telugu) or Letsflix (Marathi). The focus on regional languages makes sense given that the share of rural India had grown 23% to make up 52% of all Internet users in the country by March 2020, according to the report.

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