Net­flix in In­dia for Long Game, Plans More Orig­i­nals

Co to pump up in­vest­ments in de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of lo­cal con­tent, build foun­da­tion for the next 10-15 years’

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Gau­rav.Laghate @times­group.com

Mum­bai: Net­flix, which con­sid­ers In­dia as a “su­per pri­or­ity mar­ket”, will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease in­vest­ments in de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of lo­cal orig­i­nal con­tent in the com­ing months.

Net­flix, which has been present in In­dia for close to two years now, has an­nounced only three orig­i­nal se­ries from here, but Erik Bar­mack, VP-In­ter­na­tional Orig­i­nals at Net­flix, told ET that this is just the be­gin­ning and the com­pany is look­ing at many more orig­i­nal shows from the coun­try in the months ahead.

“For Net­flix, it is still early days in In­dia, but we have seen amaz­ing tal­ent in the coun­try and in the next 6 months, you will see us com­mis­sion­ing 4-5 new orig­i­nal shows from In­dia,” said Bar­mack. “As au­di­ences are con­sum­ing more of com­pli­cated and so­phis­ti­cated sto­ry­lines, we want to pro­vide them con­tent which is tra­di­tion­ally not avail­able on TV.”

This is in ad­di­tion to ‘Se­lec­tion Day’, based on the book by au­thor Aravind Adiga, and ‘Again’, a su­per­nat­u­ral, fe­male-led de­tec­tive se­ries set in Delhi and writ­ten by Mar­isha Mukher­jee, which Net­flix an­nounced in Au­gust this year. The com­pany is al­ready work­ing on an 8-episodic se­ries — ‘Sa­cred Games’ based on In­dian au­thor Vikram Chan­dra’s book by the same name. To be pro­duced by Phan­tom Films, the show will star Saif Ali Khan as a male lead. When asked on be­ing slow in the In­dian mar­ket, as ri­val Ama­zon Prime Video has al­ready signed mul­ti­ple pro­duc­ers and an­nounced a slate of 10 shows, Bar­mack said that Net­flix is in In­dia for a long game. “We are play­ing a long-term game here. You may think two years is a lot of time, but we first see the mar­ket for 4-5 years, when view­ers start con­sum­ing 30-40 hours of con­tent per week on our plat­form.”

Bar­mack added that in next two years, Net­flix will have 100 hours of lo­cal con­tent. “We are build­ing a solid foun­da­tion to be a very strong player in next 10-15 years in In­dia.”

“In­dia is among our top pri­or­ity mar­kets be­cause of var­i­ous rea­sons and we see a great op­por­tu­nity here. First, it is a true con­tent hub as well as a big mar­ket. In­dian con­tent is also con­sumed and ap­pre­ci­ated by di­as­pora. And fi­nally, the mar­ket is in­vest­ing in broad­band in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

He also con­firmed that Net­flix in con­sid­er­ing set­ting up stu­dio fa­cil­i­ties in In­dia, which can be used for pro­duc­tion and de­vel­op­ment of shows.

Net­flix, which has over 104 mil­lion sub­scribers glob­ally, now has more sub­scribers out­side of the US. This has im­pacted the com­pany’s in­vest­ment strat­egy in de­vel­op­ing orig­i­nal con­tent. In­creas­ingly, it is com­mis­sion­ing shows which are in­ter­na­tional and cut across mul­ti­ple ge­ogra­phies. It is in­vest­ing in pro­duc­ing lo­cal con­tent in Canada, Brazil, the Mid­dle East and In­dia, a lot of which will not be English lan­guage shows.

Ear­lier in May, Reed Hast­ings, CEO, Net­flix, had said that the com­pany will be in­vest­ing $6 bil­lion in orig­i­nal con­tent in 2017.

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