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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



2016 good year for Sony Pictures Networks India

2016 good year for Sony Pictures Networks India

As 2016 fades out, Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) reveals that it has been a good year for the company. In 2007, the company had changed its name from Sony Entertainment Television (SET) to Multi Screen Media (MSM). Many viewers in India still remember the old name, which was the identity when the Sony group entered India, in 1995, not too long after the Indian skies had opened up to non-state, satellite television broadcasters.

According to N P Singh, CEO, Multi Screen Media (MSM; formerly COO), said that the strategic intent behind rebranding Multi Screen Media (MSM) into Sony Pictures Network (SPN) was to align with the parent company, and thereby accrue the benefit of global synergies. "The new logo is our way of creating a picture from a pixel; a campaign from an idea, and a revolution in progressive television entertainment. Going forward, Sony Pictures Networks will steer its helm on three levers, namely, general entertainment, sports and digital. With a comprehensive bouquet of varied channels, we are equipped today to serve India's population both, in the urban and rural areas, as well across geographies," says Singh.

India was a state monopoly when it came to radio and television, but that changed in the 90s, and, since then, Akashwani (All India Radio) and Doordarshan, the respective arms of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, have progressively lost ground to private and multi-national players. All government channels are free-t-air, while private channels cost between Rs. 5 and Rs. 100/month (current exchange rate is Rs. 68=$1), and up to 1,000 channels are available.

Singh added, "At MSM, we've served television audiences worldwide for the last 20 years, during which time, we pioneered new formats, new shows and actually set the trends for television entertainment. We changed the dynamics of how cricket and cinema were viewed on Indian television and contoured a variety of genres in TV entertainment. So, while Kaun Banega Crorepati (Who Wants to be a Millionaire, anchored by Amitabh Bachchan) and Dus Ka Dum (The Power of Ten/Selman Khan) created new waves in television gaming, Boogie Woogie (Naved Jaffri and Ravi Behl) and Indian Idol (Indian version of the singing competition, American Idol) brought the commoner's talent on the telly. We were also the first ones to embrace the cultural fabric of India by providing SAB (Sri Adhikari Brothers’ channel, bought over)- an out-and-out family humour channel." (Watch video; link below)

Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd. owns and operates a television network in India. SPN comprises of Sony Entertainment Television (SET), one of India's leading Hindi general entertainment television channels; MAX, India's premium Hindi movies and special events channel; MAX 2, a second Hindi movie channel showcasing great Indian Cinema; SAB, a family comedy entertainment channel; PIX, the English movie channel; AXN, the leader among English Entertainment Channels; AATH, the Bangla (Bengali) movie channel, MIX a refreshing Hindi music channel; SIX, India’s Premier Sports Entertainment Channel; KIX, a youth-centric sports channel focusing on high adrenaline, fast-paced content and LIV--the Digital Entertainment Channel. Recent additions include co-branded networks Sony ESPN and Sony BBC Earth.

SPN’s flagship movie channel, Sony Max, has been the leader since the last 26 consecutive weeks. In May 2016, Sony expanded its movie cluster with its first free-to-air (FTA) channel Sony Wah. With this, the channel count in Sony's Hindi movie bouquet has reached four, including Sony Max, Sony Max2 and Sony Max HD. During the Indian Premier League cricket tournament season, each year, Sony Max registered highest ratings in the prime time (late evening) segment, hence the property is special for the group. Cricket is the most popular team sport in India. Sony Wah (an approximation of Wow/Good), according to the company, has been the leader for 23 out of 35 weeks in Financial Year 2016-17. Wah has notched only 25 weeks of airing. Sony Wah is, uncharacteristically, free to air. Overall, the company claims that it has grown by 30% over the last year, which is much better than the industry average.

Andy Kaplan, president, Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television (SPT), says, "Our channels in India represent an important part of Sony Pictures Television's global portfolio and we are proud to be part of the fabric of the diverse Indian culture. As we celebrate bringing the best entertainment to viewers in India for 20 years, it's only fitting that these networks be branded as part of our Sony family. Like the Sony brand, which stands for innovation, creativity and delight, SPN brings the same qualities to our viewers."

MSM Motion Pictures is the company’s venture in film production. Sony Pictures Networks Distribution India Pvt. Ltd. (SPN Distribution India) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd. Along with ‘home’ channels SET, SAB, PAL, MAX, MAX 2, WAH, MIX, PIX, SIX, Sony ESPN, AXN, Animax, Aath (Eight), SET HD, MAX HD, SIX HD, PIX HD, AXN HD and Sony ESPN HD. It also distributes the well-known TV Today Network channels--India Today, Aaj Tak and Tez.

Some notable Sony films in Hindi

AZHAR, 2016

PIKU, 2015




Key Personnel

Mr. N. P. Singh, Chief Executive Officer


Mr. Jayesh D. Parekh, Co-Founder


Mr. Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks


Ms. Humsa Dhir, Head of PR & Corporate Communications and Senior Vice-President


Mr. Anup Vishwanathan, Head of Marketing and Senior Vice President


Mr. Neeraj Vyas, Sony Max (movie channel cluster) Senior Executive Vice-President and Business Head


N.P. Singh video:

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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