Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings announced that the streaming service will spend Rs 3000 crore ‘this year and next’ on producing original content in India. Hastings was speaking at the 17th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Friday.
Netflix launched in India in 2016 and has since invested in local content in Hindi and other local languages. “Sacred Games traveled all over the world,” Hastings told HT editor-in-chief R Sukumar, tipping his hat to the streamer’s first Indian original series, developed by Vikramaditya Motwane. He also revealed that the animated children’s show Mighty Little Bheem viewed by 27 million households outside India. “People like babies in many countries,” Hastings offered as an explanation.
Reed Hastings said Netflix to invest Rs 3000 crore in Indian content
Hastings also mentioned the third season of the comedy-drama Little Things, which debuted on November 9. “Delhi Crime one of our biggest series. However,” he said, acknowledging the success of the gritty crime drama. It created by Ritchie Mehta and inspired by the December 2012 gang-rape case in New Delhi. “Some people said, we shouldn’t tell that story,” he said, “but really committed to artistic freedom.”
Netflix has over 160 million subscribers around the world, and although Hastings didn’t reveal how many Indian subscribers the service has, he admitted that these are ‘early days’. The service faces competition in India from rival companies such as Amazon and Hotstar, with Apple, Disney and others looking to make inroads into what is largely considered a booming market for streaming. “If we have amazing content from around the world, people are willing to pay for that,” Hastings said, mentioning the subsidized prices the company has introduced in the region.
“In the US, cable television costs about $75. Here it’s bout $3-5,” Hastings said. “In the US, people pay $50 for mobile phone access. Pricing is very low here, and the market is very large. That’s why our Rs 199 a month pricing is very competitive.”