Sony MIX, Sony ESPN SD and Sony ESPN HD bite the dust
Shutdown effective midnight of 30th March
SPNI exits Music genre
Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) is going to shut down three of its channels which are currently on air from the midnight of 30th March 2020, according to reports. The three channels – Sony Mix, Sony ESPN SD, and Sony ESPN HD will be discontinued from the effective date.
According to a purported image of internal communication from Sony Pictures Network India to distribution platform operators, SPN states “Dear Sir, Kindly note that we will be discontinuing the operation of our channels MIX (Music Genre), Sony ESPN SD and HD (Sports Genre) w.e.f the midnight of 30th March 2020.”
Sony had earlier in its latest Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) that was published on 2 January dropped Sony ESPN SD and Sony ESPN HD out of all its bouquet.
The shutdown of Sony MIX, however, comes across as a surprise. SPN had in January reduced the MRP of Sony MIX from Rs 1 to Rs 0.1. MIX also continued to be part of all SPN bouquets, unlike Sony ESPN which was dropped.
The broadcaster also refrained from participating in the recently concluded 44th DD Free Dish E-Auction which is another indication of the shutdown of Sony MIX. MIX has continually ranked in Top 5 BARC Ratings in the Music genre.
MIX viewers have been left disenchanted with the news of the channel’s shutdown. One viewer commented, “Sony Mix will be missed as it is, by all means, an excellent channel, especially for old songs and it, has a lively, young, energetic vibe.” while another commented, “Sony Mix is a very good music channel with a good and wide range of selection. It will be missed.”
The shutdown of Sony ESPN is hardly a surprise given the Disney-Star merger. The timing of the shutdown is surprisingly at the same time Disney+ content will be officially launching in India onboard Hotstar.
It remains to be seen whether SPN will launch new channels in its place or not. SPN currently owns two licenses in the name of TEN 4 and TEN 4 HD. Both were rumoured to launch last year which didn’t happen. In January, SPN had renamed its social media handle SPN Sports to Sony Sports setting off rumours of a possible revamp. The future of ESPN in India also remains unclear as to whether it will rejoin Star India immediately.
DreamDTH has reached out to Sony Pictures Network India for a comment on the matter. The response from the broadcaster’s end is awaited. The article will be updated with SPN’s response as and when it comes.
SPN and ESPN in October 2015 had tied up to launch Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD in India. Both channels went on air from January 2016. In 2012 ESPN broke its joint venture of many years with Star India after which it could not operate in India due to a non-compete clause.
Sony MIX is currently SPN’s lone Music channel in India. SPN had earlier shut down Sony Rox HD in January 2019 due to dispersed and niche viewership.
SPNI owns and operates 18 standard definition (SD) and 11 high definitions (HD) channels in India. Its portfolio of channels will shrink to 16 standard definition and 10 high definition channels come April 2020.