NEW DELHI: Waging a war for content supremacy, American streaming platform Netflix is sprucing up its local content in India, one of the most crowded markets for the world’s largest paid-streaming service provider. Disclosing its content budget for the Indian market first time ever, Netflix said it plans to spend Rs 3,000 crore this year and next.
“We are only getting started here (in India) and the centerpiece of our story is content,” Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings said at an event here, adding, “You’ll start to see a lot of stuff hit screens in the coming months.” The streaming service, which has 160 million subscribers globally, is jostling with giants such as Walt Disney co-owned Hotstar and Amazon.com’s Prime for a bigger slice of the growing market, as more Indians use smartphones to view videos.
India has emerged as a crucial content hub for Netflix, which has commissioned around 40 original series and films in the country, including 15 original series and about 24 original local-language films so far. In April this year, Netflix had said around 15 new original Indian films would be made available across the world by the end of 2020.
Citing examples of its own original shows like Sacred Games and Mighty Little Bheem, Hastings said they have had great success with Indian original content travelling around the world. For instance, over 27 million households outside of India have watched Mighty Little Bheem. Also, two of the three viewers who watched Sacred Games were outside India, the Los Gatos, California-based company had said last year.
Hastings said Netflix’s goal is to attract 100 million customers in India, almost 25 times its estimated subscriber base there as of this year. Apart from Netflix, all the streaming services are also betting big on Indian content in terms of investment.
“The next 5-10 years will be the golden age of television... You are seeing unbelievable and unrivalled levels of investment. Partially from global firms like Apple, Amazon, Disney and Viacom. There are all investing in India as well as in the UK and the US. We are seeing more content made than ever before. It’s a great export,” he said, concluding, “We got one eye on being very local and authentic, and one eye on what will be shared around the world.”
Big budget for india original content
Rs 3,000 cr will be spent by Netflix this year and next to spruce up its local content in India
24 local language films and 15 original series have been streamed by it so far in India