NEW DELHI — U.S.-based on-demand streaming website Netflix, which opened its gates to Indians in January, is focused not only on winning the business game in this country but also on giving Indian stories and talent a global platform, a top company executive has said.
Cindy Holland, vice president of Original Series at Netflix, believes that the Indian stories that they plan to launch over a period of time will win hearts all around the world.
“We are definitely looking at India as a very important market where we will be commissioning a number of series specifically for the Indian market, and we also expect that they will be quite popular around the world,” Holland told IANS in an exclusive interview over the phone from Los Angeles.
Holland said the Netflix team can foresee a bright future for the platform in India.
“We are very excited. We don’t have a set number of projects that we will undertake and create for the Indian market in mind. It is quite an important market for us, and we are really excited to bring the best of Indian talent to viewers around the world,” she said.
Since its launch, Netflix announced its first original series from the country, based on the best-selling novel “Sacred Games” by Indian author Vikram Chandra.
Shot on location in India, this Hindi-English series will be produced in partnership with Phantom Films, one of India’s leading production houses, and will be available to Netflix members globally upon completion.
Actor-comedian Vir Das also booked his own slot on the streaming media and video-on-demand online platform with his own ‘Netflix Original’ comedy special. Das’ special entertainer will be filmed in India in his hometown, Delhi, and it will be streamed on Netflix in over 100 countries.
Talking about the comedy special, Holland said Netflix “has been very successful at developing long-term relationships with comedians and storytellers of different countries and bringing their stories to the world.” They hope to spin the same magic in the country using a “desi” touch.
For now, Holland says they are on a quest to find a “new series to create for India.”
Operating in over 190 countries, Netflix has nearly 34 million international subscribers compared to 47 million in the U.S.
“What we have discovered so far is that Indian viewers are really interested in discovering our original series. They are really anxious to watch the series at the same time as the people in the other countries that are watching them.
“So that makes us very motivated to not make viewers in India wait until a series is a hit in the U.S. or elsewhere before streaming in India,” she said.
Holland says the key point for any story to make it to Netflix is an “exciting and special idea.”
“Then we want to understand if it is a long-lasting story that people will fall in love with over many seasons. We also look at how expensive will it be and if we can find an audience large enough for a member base to support the economics,” she said.