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Netflix to produce more original Indian titles

Riding high on the success of its first original series, Sacred Games’ in India, media-tech giant Netflix Inc plans to double its expansion in the market.

Responding to a query from BusinessLine, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer,said, “You have seen the impact of ‘Sacred Games’ and it is the testimony to the production value and quality of story telling that differentiates Netflix from other services. That is something that we are going to double and triple down on by expanding our regional investments dramatically in the next few years.”

The Los Gatos-headquartered company had announced the production of its first ever original Indian series ‘Sacred Games’ starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in 2016. In the same year it announced its first original movie ‘Love Per Square Feet’. The company has a line up of about 21 new productions, a combination of series and movies, for the next one year, adding the total number of original Indian titles to 28.

According to Sarandos, India is witnessing a growth similar to the growth that Brazil saw seven years ago and that Netflix’s plan to acquire the next 100 million subscribers would come with a focus in India, Korea and Japan. At present, it has about 60 million subscribers in the US market and about 70 million in the international market. The company doesn’t share its country specific subscriber base.

However, industry experts, say that the subscriber base in India would be much less given the fact that its pricing is expensive and largely restricted to the metro cities at a time when its competitors Amazon, Hotstar and Zee5 have been playing a volume game with low pricing strategy.

Amazon Prime charges about Rs 999 per year while Netflix’s subscription starts from Rs 500 per month. While Amazon with 10 million subscribers, is yet to break even in the Indian market, Netflix has already turned profitable.

According to its financial data sourced from Tofler, Netflix has reported a profit of ₹20.2 lakh in fiscal year 2018. Its revenues stood at ₹58 crore. However this numbers are only for seven months since September last year.

The company will also focus a lot on regional movies, with the first onea Marathi movie called ‘15th August’, produced by actress Madhuri Dixit. It is also making a multilingual prequel of the blockbuster fantasy period drama ‘Bahubali- Before the beginning’. The company’s immediate release next month is Rishi Kapoor starrer Rajma Chawal. Its previous movies include Ghoul, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe, Little Things and Brahman Naman.

(The writer is in Singapore at the invitation of Netflix)

Source: The Hindu