Netflix is focused on “getting a content fit” in India and is working towards having broader content on its platform in the country, co-founder, president, chairman & co-CEO Reed Hastings said during the company’s Q12021 earnings call on Tuesday.
“India, we are still figuring things out. And so that investment takes some guts and below forward-looking…that one (India) is a more speculative investment than, say, Korea or Japan, which again, five years ago was very speculative when we did those. But we have got off, we are over the hump on that. We have got a great match,” Hastings said.
Netflix, which spent a whopping `3,000 crore on India content through 2019 and 2020, said it is “programming the service (in the country) in a way that consumers value it and love it”.
Earlier this year, the company unveiled a slate of over 40 India originals that will premiere on the service this year. The bouquet of originals that includes a mix of movies, series across genres and documentaries underlines the over-the-top (OTT) firm’s attempt to deepen its reach in the country.
Monika Shergill, vice-president, content at Netflix India, claimed that the 2021 content slate was nearly three times the slate curated by the platform in the previous years.
Netflix that competes with global players Amazon Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar and a clutch of home-grown services like Zee5 and AltBalaji in the country has been devising ways to get more subscribers on to the platform; whether it is by building on its local library of content, currently comprising over 10 regional languages, introducing a cheaper mobile-only plan or tying up with telcos to provide affordable bundled packages.
COO & chief product officer Gregory K Peters said that the firm’s partnership with Jio that aimed to bring the service to a “new demographic at a very, very low price associated with low-cost mobile plans that they are offering as well as home-based IPTV plans” has been successful.
“I would just add that India is a tremendous opportunity. And it’s just, like all great opportunities, it’s a long journey, and it’s a challenge. And we think it’s worth it,” said Theodore A Sarandos, co-CEO & chief content officer and director.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said that it is back to producing safely in every major market with the exception of Brazil and India.
The company’s total revenues rose to $7.16 billion in the January-March quarter compared to $5.7 billion in Q12020. Netflix said it ended Q12021 with 208 million global paid memberships, up 14% year-on-year but below the projected 210 million paid memberships owing to Covid-led disruption in content slate. The streaming firm aims to spend over $17 billion in cash on overall content this year and “we will continue to deliver an amazing range of titles for our members with more originals this year than last,” it said in the letter.