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Netflix, the US-based video & movie streaming platform, is planning to launch original Bollywood and animation programming aimed at non-US markets, reports The Verge. Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO said that creators needed to focus on developing shows for global scale and audiences, since the distribution problem had been solved with the Internet. Hastings added that Netflix would spend $5 billion on content next year, including acquiring talents.

In June, we’d reported that Netflix was planning to enter India in 2016, while a Netflix spokesperson told MediaNama that they planned to go global by the end of 2016, including a launch in China, without giving further details about India plans. Netflix is currently present in over 50 countries. The company had added 13 million worldwide subscribers in Q4 2014, its biggest quarter of subscriber gains ever, and has over 60 million subscribers in total, out of which 40 million are in the United States.

Global expansion:
The company had denied that it was planning to enter the Indian market in 2013. However, it has been expanding globally since 2012 with launches in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. Netflix provides exclusive content from partners to its subscribers. It’s worth noting that the company launched in Australia and New Zealand in March this year. It also launched in Portugal, Italy and Spain in October 2015 and was planning a Japan launch later this year, to offer a number of Japanese TV shows and films, plus Netflix original series such as Marco Polo, Sense8, Marvel’s Daredevil, and Virunga among others. More on Netflix’s foray into original content production like House of Cards, Orange is the new black, Narcos and Daredevil here.

MediaNama’s take:
Netflix has shown promise with its originally produced shows in the US, and Bollywood already has a worldwide audience. This could be Netflix’s way of testing Indian waters before it launches here, if it indeed plans so. We sincerely hope that Netflix does not create run-of-the-mill saas-bahu content, but gives something on the lines of Daredevil and House of cards. I can hope, right?

There’s been a burst of video streaming websites and apps in the country recently:

– In October, YouTube launched a new paid service called YouTube Red which would allow users to watch videos without ads, original content and listen to music. (Related read: 1 million and counting for AIB & TVF, but YouTube dependency is a cause for concern)

– Last month, Viacom18 Digital Ventures announced VOOT, a mobile video platform which would go live in the ‘coming months’ to broadcast Viacom18 content, and create original content programming.

– Earlier this month, ErosNow, the digital video streaming platform of Eros International, announced that it crossed 30 million registered users as of September 30, 2015.

– In August, video streaming service HOOQ signed a multi-year deal with Sun TV and added over 1,000 Shemaroo video titles.

– In the same month, Dish TV launched a new video-on-demand (VOD) service called DishFlix which would allow users to watch ad-free movies.

– Spuul started offering content from Multi Screen Media which owns and operates the Sony network of television channels to stream its popular TV shows, as well as more content from UTV.

– In July, Hungama launched HungamaPlay, with a catalog of 6,500 movies.

– In the same month, Amazon said that it would invest more than $100 million in the third quarter to produce original content for its subscription service Prime which allows users to stream movies, TV shows & music, and store photos.

– In May, After tying up with Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers earlier this year, Singtel launched its video streaming service HOOQ in India.

– In January, Star India launched a video streaming service in beta called Hotstar, with all of Star India’s television and sports offerings along with Bollywood and regional movies from other studios.

– In the same month, Vuclip partnered with Indosat to offer mobile Video-On-Demand services to Indosat’s 54 million plus subscribers.

– Likewise, The Viral Fever Media Labs, which runs the YouTube channels TVF-Qtiyapa & TVF-RecycleBin, launched a movie streaming service called TVF Inbox Office.

– Other video & movie streaming services available in India include Times Internet’s BoxTV, Zee Entertainment Enterprises’ DittoTV, Reliance Group’s BigFlix, Airtel’s Wynk movies and NexGTV.

Also read:

78% Indian users prefer video content in local languages: Vuclip

“If someone is giving me everything for free, they’re not even testing if I am willing to pay”- Nickhil Jakatdar, Vuclip

“Once consumers get turned off, it’s hard to get them back to the table” – Nickhil Jakatdar, Vuclip

Image Credit: Matt Perreault