Customer Stories / Media & Entertainment

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SonyLIV Grows Subscriber Base Tenfold and Enhances Streaming Platform Supported by AWS

SonyLIV Technology relaunched its streaming platform on AWS to improve users’ viewing experience. SonyLIV is an over-the-top platform offering original and acquired content alongside live sporting events and interactive game shows.

60,000 hours

Converts 60,000 hours of video into multiple output formats

15 to 20

Increases the number of devices supported from 15 to 20

1.6 million users

Scales to support 1.6 million simultaneous users

Sub-100 millisecond latency

Maintains sub-100 millisecond latency for interactive game show

Improves security

by sending one-time passwords


The market for over-the-top (OTT) video streaming in India is expected to rise to $12.5 billion in 2030 from $1.5 billion in 2021 as consumers shift their viewing habits from broadcast media. The same report describes how competition in the OTT market is heating up with the emergence of new contenders vying to win over subscribers.
With a view to attracting new subscribers, SonyLIV, the OTT platform of Sony Pictures Networks India, revamped its content and interface in May 2020. With the relaunch—version 2.0—came new original programming, including the award-winning Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, and a faster, smoother user experience. In addition to original content, SonyLIV’s video-on-demand includes acquired TV series and films, as well as live sporting events and interactive game shows. Since the relaunch, SonyLIV has grown its subscriber base by 10 times and increased its content sevenfold.
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Opportunity | Enhancing Viewing Experience with Cloud-Native Services

SonyLIV was born on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud and consults regularly with AWS solutions architects and its account team, especially when embarking on new projects. “For the relaunch, we built new capabilities using AWS native services extensively to deliver a better consumer experience,” relates Manish Verma, head of technology for SonyLIV at Sony Pictures Network India.
To support its relaunch and gain more control over video quality, SonyLIV started building an internal video engineering team. Previously, SonyLIV was working with an external partner to manage on-demand programming, but it wanted the flexibility to manage content in-house as the company scaled.
During the nine-month transition and onboarding period for the new team, SonyLIV’s engineers worked closely with AWS to improve viewing quality. The company used AWS Elemental MediaConvert to transpose 60,000 hours of video into multiple output formats to support a consistent viewing experience. “Whether on a mobile device or TV screen, our video quality remains the same,” Verma attests. SonyLIV upscaled content to HD quality with the relaunch and increased the number of devices supported by the OTT platform from 15 to 20.

Managing Data Transfer Rates for Mobile Users

About half of SonyLIV users view content from the platform on their mobile devices. However, most telco operators in India put daily limits on the amount of network data that users can consume. Therefore, keeping the data transfer rate low was an important consideration for SonyLIV when upgrading its platform.
“We worked extensively with the AWS team to find the perfect balance between enhanced video quality and reasonable data transfer rates. The internet is highly fragmented in India, with a range of network conditions and device types, so we had to optimize the parameters of various content sources to support different types of streaming protocols,” says Verma.
SonyLIV tracks three key performance indicators when assessing video quality: exit before video start (EBVS), video start time, and rebuffering ratio. In addition to on-demand videos, live sports such as cricket matches attract a high volume of subscribers who are sensitive about these three issues. “If we don’t set up the encoding pipeline correctly, there might be a high EBVS and similarly, a high video start time and rebuffering ratio. Any of these factors can lead to people leaving our content and platform,” Verma explains.

We need a reliable cloud infrastructure to maintain latency SLAs…. Scaling has never been a problem on AWS.”

Manish Verma
Head of Technology, SonyLIV Technology

Solution | Delivering Low-Latency Data Streaming for 1.6 Million Users

Also popular with viewers is SonyLIV’s Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) interactive game show, where viewers can submit answers to questions on the show in real time via their mobile devices. Low latency is critical across the OTT platform, but these types of services are especially sensitive to latency and loading delays.
“Latency is as bad as downtime for OTT applications,” Verma explains. “We need a reliable cloud infrastructure to maintain latency SLAs whether it’s 100,000 users or 10 million users accessing our content. Scaling has never been a problem on AWS.” SonyLIV uses Amazon ElastiCache to support real-time, in-memory caching at scale, Amazon CloudFront as a low-latency content delivery network, and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) as a highly available message queuing service.
The KBC game, for example, has reached a peak of 1.6 million users playing simultaneously. SonyLIV’s challenge is to deliver questions asked by the show’s host to users on their mobile phones instantaneously. Verma says, “Using the low-latency data streaming network on AWS, we’ve been able to maintain sub-100 millisecond latency without any issues.”

Monetizing Content with Server-Side Ad Insertion

SonyLIV also switched to AWS Elemental MediaTailor for server-side ad insertion (SSAI). SSAI is difficult to get right for various reasons. It requires a highly scalable origination service and different ad standards complicate insertion workflows. By using AWS Elemental MediaTailor, SonyLIV benefits from personalized ad insertion, the ability to seamlessly switch between content and ads, accurate ad view reporting, and a flexible standards-based solution.
“The primary reasons we moved to AWS Elemental MediaTailor were to gain a flexible platform, improve visibility, and increase control. We are exploring further use cases for this service including programmatic ads and ad targeting,” says Verma.

Outcome | Following Security Best Practices

Security is another area SonyLIV reinforced with the 2.0 upgrade. The company started using Amazon Pinpoint to manage all domestic and international logins through one-time passwords (OTPs). Formerly, users could opt to receive an OTP on their mobile devices or use their chosen password to log in to SonyLIV. With OTPs employed across the board, users benefit from more secure platform access.
SonyLIV continues to follow best security practices and engages with AWS Professional Services to regularly audit its infrastructure and recommend improvements. “When it comes to security or niche technologies around data and video, AWS has a rich internal talent pool and experience with global customers that operate in the same manner we do. Over the years, we’ve seen AWS services improving and value the consultative nature of our relationship,” Verma shares.
Data is the next frontier for SonyLIV now that the company is managing video streams in-house. It’s also exploring real-time dashboard capabilities and a customer sentiment analysis engine to further improve its on-demand offering.

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About SonyLIV Technology

SonyLIV Technology is the digital division of Sony Pictures Networks India, operating an over-the-top (OTT) video-streaming platform. SonyLIV’s OTT content includes original and acquired TV shows and films, alongside live sporting events and interactive game shows.

AWS Services Used

AWS Elemental MediaConvert

AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features.

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AWS Elemental MediaTailor

AWS Elemental MediaTailor is a channel assembly and personalized ad insertion service for video providers to create linear OTT (internet delivered) channels using existing video content and monetize those channels, or other live streams and VOD content, with personalized advertising.

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience.

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Amazon Pinpoint

Amazon Pinpoint is a flexible and scalable outbound and inbound marketing communications service. You can connect with customers over channels like email, SMS, push, voice or in-app messaging.

Learn more »

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