Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated at a global business event in Delhi in February 2018 that the streaming giant’s next 100 million users would “come from India” because of increasing and low-cost internet.
Mr. Hastings doesn’t sound as optimistic three years later. He criticized the California-based company’s lack of success in India on an investor call last week. “The good news is that the flywheel is spinning in every other big market. What irritates us is why we haven’t had as much success in India. However, we’re clearly leaning towards “he stated
According to Media Partners Asia, a media consultancy, India’s $2 billion (£1.4 billion) streaming market is fueled by 100 million memberships. Netflix has been struggling in this market since its inception six years ago. According to industry estimates, the world’s largest streamer, with an estimated 5.5 million paying users, lags well behind its main competitors, Disney+ Hotstar (46 million) and Amazon Prime Video (19 million).
Sacred Games, a big and violent gangster epic from Netflix, made a splash in 2018. The stylish thriller, which stars Bollywood A-listers and is directed by two of India’s best filmmakers, received immediate accolades. Netflix’s first original series, according to The Economist, indicated that “new combinations of old-school Hindi film talent, Hollywood values, and Silicon Valley’s billions” had a future.
Many, according to industry analysts, have fallen short of expectations. According to media consulting firm Ormax, Netflix had only one show in the top 15 most-watched Hindi-language streaming shows last year (Kota Factory, a drama about stressed-out college students).
Despite the success of shows like Indian Matchmaking, a reality dating show, and Decoupled, a marital parody, the service appears to be mostly connected with global sensations like Squid Game, Money Heist, and Narcos. “Netflix is still seen as a high-end, pricey service. It is still regarded as a foreign country “According to Shubhra Gupta, a film critic, and columnist for The Indian Express,
Rivals have been more astute. The majority of Disney+’s content has been focused on sports. The service possesses big-ticket digital broadcast rights in the world’s biggest cricket market, including the showpiece Indian Premier League (IPL).
Amazon Prime Video has a stunning amount of material available in ten Indian languages. Family Man, its action drama, was the most-watched Hindi streaming show last year. Mirzapur, a rural gangland tale, has become a nationwide hit.
According to Shailesh Kapoor, CEO of Ormax Media, Prime also generously caters to a film-hungry audience: the service owns almost 40% of all blockbuster films in Indian languages. This year, the service will begin live streaming cricket matches from New Zealand. A subscription includes access to Amazon’s shopping privileges.
According to industry predictions, India’s streaming market will more than double by 2026. However, with millions of new subscribers, Netflix will have to look at a wider choice of material or go more local.
It will not be simple. India already has over 75 streaming services. There are a few hits and a lot of misses. Only “15-20” of the 225 episodes launched in Indian languages on streaming sites last year – 170 of them in Hindi – were successful, according to Mr Kapoor. “Everyone is trying and creating in large quantities. But keep in mind that India is a complicated market.”