True Orig­i­nal

India Today - - LEISURE -

Ted Saran­dos is the con­tent chief at Net­flix, the largest and most in­flu­en­tial stream­ing TV plat­form world­wide. He spoke with Suhani Singh about the com­pany’s strat­egy in In­dia, where its sub­scriber num­bers are lag­ging be­hind Ama­zon Prime and Hot­star.

Q. In­dia is one of the only six coun­tries where Net­flix has set up an of­fice. Does that make it spe­cial?

I think we should have done it sooner. In­dia is a very dy­namic, creative en­vi­ron­ment and a mas­sive mar­ket. So the closer we can be to it, the bet­ter it is. It’s about where the op­por­tu­nity is and what needs lo­cal ex­per­tise.

Q. Are you sat­is­fied with the flow of In­dian orig­i­nals in 2018?

I am thrilled. We are mov­ing as fast as we pos­si­bly can with the chief reg­u­la­tor be­ing qual­ity. It’s the same with our li­censed cat­a­logue, which has grown two times. Sa­cred Games was rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent than what’s oth­er­wise avail­able and

si­mul­ta­ne­ously, it also re­spected and re­flected lo­cal taste and cul­ture.

Q. Have these shows trans­lated into a rise in sub­scribers?

Yes, def­i­nitely. The shows have be­come great am­bas­sadors for the plat­form. We have a young adult show Se­lec­tion Day com­ing up in De­cem­ber. We are also de­vel­op­ing Baahubali, Bard of Blood, Leila and Mid­night’s Chil­dren.

Q. But you are still lag­ging be­hind Ama­zon and Hot­star.

With Ama­zon they want de­liv­er­ies and get some stuff too, and with Hot­star they want sports. Peo­ple who join Net­flix want great shows and films and we aim to de­liver on that. Our com­pe­ti­tion is what peo­ple do on screens. So it’s as much so­cial me­dia as Ama­zon and Hot­star.

Q. Last year, Net­flix won its first doc­u­men­tary Os­car for Icarus.

Can you win in the fea­ture film cat­e­gory in 2019?

For [di­rec­tor] Al­fonso Cuaron, I hope. Roma is a beau­ti­ful ac­com­plish­ment but also such a per­sonal film. It would mean the world for Al­fonso. The Os­cars should be a re­flec­tion of the best film, not where you see it.


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