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Netflix’s India ambitions surpass Rs 3000 crore investment

The streaming company sees India as one of its top global priorities.

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Mumbai: Global streaming platform Netflix will pump more money into producing content in India, said chief executive officer Reed Hastings. The key executive of the streaming giant was speaking to Business Today’s global business editor Udayan Mukherjee in an interview.

The company has already pumped in Rs 3,000 crore in the past two years to develop original programming, particularly focused on local content, and more investments are in the offing. “India as a market is witnessing explosive growth in video content viewership over the past couple of years – partially propelled by people having to stay home because of the Covid-19 pandemic," Hastings said.

The competition in India’s OTT arena is heating up with HBO Max service expected to hit the subcontinent early next year. Hastings sees the competition differently, saying that services such as YouTube and TikTok are the platform’s biggest competitors. But instead of focusing on the competition, he chooses to focus on the next big show that everyone could be talking about.

“Netflix has emerged as one of the prime contenders for the consumer's wallet. Over the past five years, the brand has established instant recall in the minds of the Indian consumer,” he said. “What’s great about the Indian market is that Hotstar started so early and pioneered streaming in India. It has really increased the market size, and then Reliance Jio transformed it with regard to access and cost, democratised it. So, they created the base for the market which is today one of our top global priorities."

According to a report by Media Partners Asia, the Indian OTT industry is expected to spend $ one billion on content out of which 45 per cent will be local and original content. Reports estimate that the OTT platform has more than five million Indian subscribers. 

Hastings admitted that Netflix’s journey in India has been harder than was initially anticipated, but he revealed the company’s determination to overcome those challenges through its continued commitment to the Indian market and simply by investing more. He also highlighted that Netflix, which has strong premium imagery in the consumer’s mind, is also focused on providing greater affordability to Indian subscribers.

The interview will be aired on 17 September at 10:30 p.m on Business Today Show with Udayan Mukherjee.

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