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