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Here’s Why Netflix Is Betting Big On Original Content For India

Here’s Why Netflix Is Betting Big On Original Content For India

Netflix said 70% of its Indian subscribers see at least one film a week

Netflix has lined up 22 original movies from India by 2020

Sacred Games and Lust Stories emerged as the most popular original content

Global streaming platform Netflix has planned to launch 22 original movies and 11 series from India by 2020. This is said to be a part of the company’s effort to create diverse and appealing content from India.

Of the 22 planned films, eight have already been released and the remaining are expected to be out in the coming months. This includes the comedy film starring Abhay Doel, which is scheduled to be out on May 31. Among the 11 announced series, five have already been launched and other six series are scheduled for a launch soon. This includes a prequel series of Indian blockbuster movie Baahubali, and a dystopic fiction Leila. 

The reason for the company’s optimism about the Indian market is in the viewership numbers for the platform in the country. The company claimed that the number of films watched per month per subscriber in India has grown by 50% since last year.

Netflix told Inc42 that it collected data points that suggest the market has a huge appetite for films. “As a percentage of the overall time spent on Netflix, film viewing in India is the highest and 70% of its subscribers see at least one film in a week.”

Among its India-focussed content is the Rishi Kapoor-starrer Rajma Chawal, Sacred Games, directed by Anurag Kashyap and starring Bollywood A-listers. Then there’s Lust Stories an anthology directed by the likes of Karan Zohar and Zoya Akhtar, two of the leading filmmakers in the Indian industry. Lust Stories is its largest-watched original in the first month, in terms of viewership percentages, among all the markets it operates in.

It’s also released titles such as the feel-good Selection Day and the hard-hitting Delhi Crime, which have seen great response according to the company.  The OTT platform has also been releasing a fair amount of indie films such as Music Teacher, Once Again, Love Per Square Foot along with original series.

Netflix In India

Netflix has recorded $344 Mn net income for the quarter ended in March 2019. Its consolidated revenue for the quarter stood at $4.52 Bn. It added that it has 148.8 Mn subscribers across the world from the 139 Mn at the end of December 2018.

Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters said in the company’s earnings call that the partnership with Airtel to explore different go-to-market mechanisms has made it easy for Indians to sign up for the service without any payment friction.

Recently in May, the California-based company has started testing a mobile-only subscription service with some users in India. The company’s test plan was priced at INR 250 per month which is half the price of its existing basic subscription plan of INR 500.

Commenting on these tests, Peters had said, “We’re not positive that’s the right model, but it’s — we’re quite certain that we should do something to find a price tier that’s lower than the existing lowest-priced tier to broaden that accessibility. We think that will be important to add members in India,”

Earlier this year, Netflix along with other OTT platform operating in India have signed a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of IAMAI. The code was meant to stop online video platforms from showing content that’s deemed objectionable by Indian courts, disrespects the national emblem and flag, outrages religious sentiments promotes terrorism or violence against the state and shows children in sexual acts. In other controversy, the company was reported to be considering pulling its upcoming movie ‘Hotel Mumbai’ as the film has come under ownership dispute in the Bombay High Court.

India is estimated to emerge in the top 10 lists in the global OTT market by 2022 with revenue of over $803 Mn (INR 5,500 Cr), according to an audit and consultancy firm PwC.

In the first quarter of 2018, Hotstar was found to have captured 70% of video streaming app downloads. While, SonyLIV doubled its share from 5.9% to 13%. Viacom 18’s Voot was in third place with 11%, while Amazon Prime Video had a 5% share, followed by Netflix which had a lowly 1.4% share of the Indian market.

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.

Author

Yatti Soni

Inc42 Staff

A software engineer from Amity University, Noida. After graduation, she was part of a 14 months Communication for social change & media rights fellowship - ‘Ideosync Unesco India Fellow’ (IUIF). You can write to her at [email protected]

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