Netflix predicts sharp rise in local content in pursuit of India’s edge

Netflix will roll out its largest roster of Indian movies and shows to date, releasing 40 local productions over the coming year as it struggles to gain an edge over its rapidly growing competitors including Disney and Amazon. Premium.

The American streaming company will launch movies and shows featuring big-name actors and crew such as producer Karan Johar and actor Madhuri Dixit, as well as the second seasons of series, including the international winner at the Emmy Awards. Delhi Crime.

Content Listing Will Be Significant Increase From $ 400 Million Netflix spent on entertainment in 2019 and 2020, said Monika Shergill, the company’s vice president for content in India.

“We are betting very, very big on India,” Shergill said. She declined to give a precise figure but added: “This slate is almost three times that [of 2019 and 2020], so I think you can make an educated guess as to the extent to which we are looking at programming in India. “

With its giant, movie-loving population of 1.4 billion, India is a vital growth market for American streaming companies. But the country has turned out to be tricky for Netflix, which has struggled with issues ranging from pricing to political scrutiny since its launch in 2016.

Netflix is ​​the most expensive streaming service Crowded field of india. Its main international competitors, Disney and Amazon, have taken the lead in terms of subscribers. While Disney had over 25 million subscribers in December 2020, consulting firm Media Partners Asia put Netflix’s Indian base at 5 million.

However, Shergill said Netflix’s pricing strategy evolved. The company has set up a mobile-only plan and a partnership with low-budget telecom operator Reliance Jio.

“We are the most premium service on the market and everyone knows it,” she says. “Having said that, if you look at the value that we bring, if you look at the offerings that we offer, we are constantly looking to improve it. . . We are also looking to improve access at all times. “

Netflix’s content surge comes as India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata braces for regulate streaming platforms for the first time.

The productions of the US streaming services have repeatedly angered Hindu nationalist BJP by delving into politically charged territory.

Amazon is fighting to keep executives released from prison after airing a show with an allegedly offensive portrayal of Hindu gods, and apologizing on Tuesday. Netflix faced a backlash last year after A decent boy depicts a Muslim boy kissing a Hindu girl in a temple.

Government rules, unveiled last week, would require companies to appoint a local grievance officer and respond to a self-regulatory body that would be overseen by authorities.

Shergill said the company is still assessing the implications of the rules, but is delighted that self-regulation is involved. She said Netflix wanted to continue to “tell different kinds of stories” in a “responsible” way, despite the pressure.

“Sometimes people get offended by certain things, but it’s never planned and you don’t plan for those things,” Shergill said.

“I don’t think one can be too anxious about it,” she said. “It’s important to have really the right mix of creative expression, the ability to tell a story and be responsible for it. This is the balance that we always find. “

Additional reporting by Alex Barker in London

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