Netflix Greenlights ‘Sacred Games’ Second Season; Korean Espionage Drama ‘Vagabond’

As expected, Netflix has greenlighted a second season of “Sacred Games,”  the eight-episode Indian police drama starring Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan that became a global hit for the subscription streaming video behemoth.

“Games” is one of six new original programs Netflix has in production in India in 2019.

While the Mumbai-set crime drama was praised for its theatrical production values and aggressive storylines, the future of the series was put in doubt last year after reported allegations of sexual misconduct by a senior executive with the show’s production company – Phantom Films – surfaced.

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Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos last year on a trip to Mumbai said the company investigated claims “Games” showrunners Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap ignored the allegations and found no wrongdoing on their behalf.

“We are committed to making sure that the workplace [on Netflix programs] is safe and respectful, always,” Sarandos told Indian media. “We have instituted harassment training on all our productions in India — it is the same exact program we do in the U.S. and everywhere in the world. And everybody from the top to bottom of the production must go through it before we roll cameras.”

Netflix initiated the training following allegations of inappropriate behavior by “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey made national headlines.

Lee Seung Gi and Bae Suzy in Korean spy drama, ‘Vagabond.’

Separately, Vagabond, an action-packed Korean espionage drama series, starring Lee Seung-gi (The King 2 HeartsA Korean Odyssey) and Bae Suzy (Architecture 101, While You Were Sleeping), will launch globally in September. It will be available on Netflix exclusively outside Korea.

Indian Content Streaming Service ShemarooMe Launches in U.S.

Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, one of India’s leading integrated media content houses, has entered the U.S. market with the launch of its OTT video streaming  service, ShemarooMe.

“Building on its vast content library and expertise gained over the past 57 years and in more than 30 countries, ShemarooMe will give Indian American audiences on-the-go access to the company’s exclusive portfolio of Bollywood, regional language, devotional and children’s content,” according to a company press release.

Shemaroo unveiled the streaming service in India earlier this year.

“As the second largest group within the Asian American population that has the highest household income as well, Indian American audiences will remain a sizeable growth opportunity for digital entertainment companies,” according to the release.

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Indian American consumers can choose from seven content categories: Bollywood Plus, Bollywood Classic, Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, Kids and Bhakti (devotional) through two subscription options. The customizable, individual category plans are priced at $4.99 per month/$49.99 each per year, and the all-access plan is priced at $9.99 per month/$99.99 per year.

“As a company we’ve always understood the pulse of our diverse audiences, and our history is a testimony to that,” said Shemaroo CEO Hiren Gada in a statement. “We are excited to extend our content offerings to loyal fans of Indian entertainment in the U.S. with a host of integrated features such as linear channels, live streams and video-on-demand services. With this launch, we look to further build strategic partnerships in the world’s leading OTT market.”

The ShemarooMe OTT app can be downloaded through Google Play, the iOS App store or online at http://shemaroome.com/, and will soon be available on Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV and Roku, according to the release.

Netflix Bows First Original Series in India

Netflix July 4 began streaming “Sacred Games,” the SVOD pioneer’s first original content in India. A global launch is set for July 6.

Next to China, India represents one of the biggest untapped consumer markets for Netflix and Amazon. The latter bowed its Prime membership platform in India in 2016, including Prime Video. Earlier this year, Amazon Music streaming service launched as well.

Streaming in Hindi and English, Mumbai mob drama “Sacred Games” features Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte, and Surveen Chawla, among others.

The series is the first of several Indian productions slated for global release on Netflix similar to original native shows in Germany (“Dark”) and Latin America, “Narcos”.

“There are great stories everywhere, but there are really four or five centers of TV and film (worldwide),”  Erik Barmack, VP, international originals at Netflix, told Reuters. “Mumbai is certainly one of them, and it is important for us, because we are going to be actively invested in India.”