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’
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.