Not news, not sports! This is Netflix’s big bet in India

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Updated: June 7, 2018 4:52:15 PM

Netflix, which is facing an uphill task in India due to the presence of competitors with more localised content, has finally come up with its first original production in India.

Netflix's original India production is finally here; 1st in 7 India originals premiere next monthThe first of the seven original series planned by Netflix in India, Sacred Games, will premiere on July 6.

Netflix, which is facing an uphill task in India due to the presence of competitors with more localised content, has finally come up with its first original production in India. Based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 thriller novel Sacred Games, Netflix has roped in big names such as Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane for the thriller.

The first of the seven original series planned by Netflix in India, Sacred Games, will premiere on July 6. Netflix has already ruled out exploring sports and news as entertainment content, the two segments that are quite popular in India. Netflix chief Reed Hastings in February said that it has become a “spectacular entertainment” platform and not that of news or sports.

On exploring the Indian market, which has the most dedicated binge watchers, Reed Hastings expressed confidence that the entertainment content provided by Netflix at a higher premium would not be problematic as he aims for people to compare it with the price of movie tickets and DVDs and not cable TV.

A KPMG-FICCI report released at the end of the last year 2017 showed that Netflix ranked fifth among major Video-on-Demand (VoD) platforms in India behind Hotstar, Amazon Prime Videos and others. Netflix’s total active subscribers were 4.2 million in January 2017, much behind Hotstar TV’s 63 million, Voot TV’s 13.2 million, Amazon Video’s 9.5 million and Sony LIV’s 4.6 million. Netflix’s high subscription price could be one of the reasons for its low subscriber numbers, the report said.

Netflix’s closest global competitor Amazon Prime has already launched several India original productions beginning with Inside Edge, which was released in July last year. While other competitors such as Hotstar and VOOT fare well with their strategy to deliver existing content across all platforms and screens. Shows such as Big Boss bagged the highest viewership not just on cable television but also on digital streaming platforms as well, the KPMG-FICCI reported noted.

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