Streaming service Netflix has ramped up its content in India faster than anywhere else in the world, doubling its catalogue since 2016 when it entered the market and working towards higher growth, says a senior executive of the company.
The goal is to tell “authentic Indian stories” on a world platform, said Simran Sethi, director creative, international originals, Netflix.
Of late, Netflix has diversified its content, including “Sacred Games”, its first Original Series in India, and its latest “Ghoul” as well as films such as “Lust Stories”.
“Since our launch in India, our content has ramped up bigger and faster than anywhere else in the world in the same time period. We have doubled our catalogue. If it seems like there is a lot going on, it is because of this ramp up. India is a very important market for us,” Sethi told PTI in an interview over phone from Mumbai.
The Indian content seems to have exploded but Sethi says they have been working on it for a while.
“We have been in India for a couple of years and I have been in this job for a year. It has been in the works for a while. It might seem like that way because there is a lot of excitement but we are definitely anxious for a big ramp up.”
Sethi was noncommittal about the second season of “Sacred Games”, based on the book by Vikram Chandra. Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap, the series about the dark underbelly of Mumbail, stars top actors such as Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Saif Ali Khan.
“We don’t give out numbers but we were very happy with the response to ‘Sacred Games’ internationally. The reviews have been fantastic from critics and fans. We are very bullish about the response. The excitement and fandom is very encouraging,” Sethi said.
Asked about the second season, Sethi offered a cryptic, “We have not made any announcement yet.”
Coincidentally, Netflix’s other major upcoming projects are also rooted in literature — “Selection Day” (Arvind Adiga), “Bard of Blood” (Bilal Siddiqi) and a prequel to “Baahubali”.
“It is by chance that most of them happen to be book adaptations. It is not a strategic choice. ‘Ghoul’ is a completely original idea based on a folklore and then films like ‘Love Per Square Foot’ and ‘Lust Stories’ were original stories. We look for filmmakers and voices that are most exciting and let them tell the stories they want to,” she said.
The platform is exciting for filmmakers too as they can find a global audience in more than 90 countries, she said.
“We are a global platform and we can take Indian content all over the world. Filmmakers share their stories with the audiences who may not have seen them before. My mother does not have to wait for three months to rent a DVD from an Indian store in the US, to watch a film in Hindi and other languages now.”
Asked about the competition with Hot Star, Amazon Prime Video and homegrown OTT (over the top) platforms, Sethi said, “We don’t focus on that too much, we focus on the consumer. We try to think first and foremost about our members and giving them top Indian, global and Hollywood content to watch whenever they want to watch, on whatever devise they want to watch. That’s how we are providing value to our consumers.”