Netflix’s Bollywood bling ‘Sacred Games’ is here; will it work in Bigg Boss-loving India?

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Updated: July 5, 2018 6:20:33 PM

Netflix's Sacred Games: After scripting worldwide success with its original US shows such as House of Cards, Narcos and Stranger Things, Netflix has turned to India with the Bollywood flavour to get more Indians to binge-watch.

Netflix's Bollywood bling ' Sacred Games' is here! Will it work in Bigg Boss-loving India?Netflix has turned to India with the Bollywood flavour to get more Indians to binge-watch. (Image: Netflix)

Netflix’s Sacred Games: After scripting worldwide success with its original US shows such as House of Cards, Narcos and Stranger Things, Netflix has turned to India with the Bollywood flavour to get more Indians to binge-watch, in a market that is heavily dominated by arch-rival Amazon Prime Videos and other Over-The-Top platforms Hotstar, Voot and Sony LIV.

Netflix’s Sacred Games has the big Bollywood names —  Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane –, and it is just getting started. Sacred Games is the first of the seven originals planned by Netflix to up its game in the market to tap more than 1 billion potential viewers.

But back home, just one show is enough, if that is called Bigg Boss. As the television reality show got 70 million viewers in just 10 days this year, Gaurav Gandhi, Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18 said that the company is gunning for a billion viewers from just Bigg Boss.

While Indians are the biggest binge-watchers of Netflix’s shows globally, domestically, the OTT platform is far behind Hotstar, Voot, Sony Six, and Amazon Prime Videos. By ruling out news and sports, its CEO Reed Hastings seems to have made it tougher for the company to grab a bigger share of the Indian market already.

A KPMG-FICCI report released at the end of the last year 2017 showed that 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.

What also seems to make it difficult for Netflix is its high subscription price. Its subscription is 3-6 times costlier than other video-streaming platforms. When it comes to original local content, Netflix is behind in the race with Amazon Prime Videos. Jeff Bezos’ venture launched its first original production Inside Edge last July and has ten more in the pipeline. With more regional content already available on Amazon Prime Videos, it seems to have an upper hand.

But Reed Hastings does not seem worried. He is confident that he can get the Indian audience to watch its content by bringing “premium” element to the shows, for which, viewers will pay happily.

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