Netflix may be global with 117 million subscribers, but the SVOD pioneer covets India (and China) to double its subscribers base in the next five years, CEO Reed Hastings told a business conference in India.
Speaking Feb. 23 at the Economic Times Global Business Summit in New Delhi, Hastings said he expects the SVOD ecosystem to generate the next 100 million subs from India – a statistic underscored by Netflix’s inroads among the country’s top 20 million mobile wireless consumers.
“It’s the most phenomenal example anywhere in the world of low Internet costs, expansion of 4G. We didn’t see that coming and we just got lucky on that one,” Hastings said.
Third-party data suggests India will have more than 650 million Internet users by 2021. The United States had 290 million Internet users at the end of 2016, according to Statista.com.
While Netflix bowed in India in 2016, streaming largely English-language content, the service opened an office in the country six months ago focusing on producing – and exporting – native language content.
Netflix began streaming original Indian movie, Love Per Square Foot, which has done well in the country and abroad in the U.S., U.K. and Mexico, according to Hastings.
The service just announced a slate of three Indian original series, including “Leila,” based on a book by Prayaag Akbar, which tells the story of Shalini, a free-thinking woman in search of the daughter she lost upon her arrest 16 years earlier.
“Ghoul,” a horror series based on Arabic folklore, is set in a covert detention center. Nida, a newly minted interrogator who turned in her own father as an anti-government activist, arrives at the center to discover that some of the terrorists held there are not of this world
“Crocodile” is a young adult murder mystery thriller series set in the seaside state of Goa.
“These three series … represent the tremendous diversity that Indian storytelling holds for a global audience,” said Erik Barmack, VP of international original series, at Netflix.