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Netflix Wants to Make Best Use of Indian Cultural Content, says CEO Reed Hastings

Netflix is planning to expand in a big way in the country and has raft of projects in the pipeline. According to a study by the company, India has the second highest number of public binge-watchers of its content after Mexico.

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Updated:November 17, 2017, 11:33 PM IST
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Netflix Wants to Make Best Use of Indian Cultural Content, says CEO Reed Hastings
File photo of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Image: Reuters
New Delhi: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Friday said that the company is looking to expand its presence in emerging countries like India.

Speaking to CNBC TV18’s Shereen Bhan, Hastings said the best Way to expand is with content that is local in flavour.

“Content is best when it really has a local flavour, then it is approachable by other people,” he said.

Hastings, however, stressed if content is good, it can transcend geographical boundaries. “Narcos is an example of a tale that is really in Latin America, but audiences around the world have really enjoyed it. Now we have an American comedian, Hasan Minhaj who does stand-up in California and is popular all over the world now on the Netflix platform. So you get all these interesting crossovers,” he said.

“People are just wild about entertainment and television here. So that is what is so exciting. We are still just a very young player. We have only been two years here, but we are going to be doing more and more new shows and new movies, not only for the Indian market but also for the whole world. So we want to take some of the best of Indian cultural content,” he added.

Netflix is planning to expand in a big way in the country and has raft of projects in the pipeline. According to a study by the company, India has the second highest number of public binge-watchers of its content after Mexico.

Identifying India as a priority market, Hastings said, “We are continuing to invest here in India and continuing to grow. Netflix just makes TV watching so easy because it is on the internet, you get to pick, you watch shows you want to watch, you get to stop and pause them.”

“We have got some great series that we have commissioned like Sacred Games. It will be coming out in 2018. And in fact, now we are working with Red Chillies Entertainment, with Shah Rukh Khan. He is trying to expand into television and so Bard of Blood is a great new book written by a 19-year-old and it has been all the rage and so, we are together working to put that in a series. So very exciting to be announcing that,” Hastings said.

Not deterred by logistical problems such as slow internet in a country as large as India, Hastings said Netflix has overcome similar problems in Mexico.
“We launched in Mexico five years ago which had a relatively slow internet and it has just accelerated tremendously because people want to watch Netflix, YouTube, other content sources online and it is moving to the internet life,” he said.

“Now we see in India, in last two years with Reliance Jio, just the biggest explosion in bandwidth that the world has ever seen. It is just incredible what is happening here in India. So, now we are trying to, as we go to other countries, saying an investment like Reliance Jio is transformative for the society, it is just so impressive,” he added.

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