The shows are: Jamtara – Sabka Number Aayega, which explores the conflicts that emerge when a small town is identified as India’s phishing capital; She, a gritty story of an undercover cop’s journey discovering her sexuality and breaking stereotypes while taking down a drug cartel; and Taj Mahal 1989, a nostalgic exploration of love and longing.
Netflix is keeping details of talent involved under its hat for now, but the announcement follows a pledge earlier this month from Netflix chief Reed Hastings to invest more than $400m in content in India across 2019 and 2020.
The streamer’s work in the territory to date includes animated series Mighty Little Bheem, the company’s first animated show from the region, which it says has been watched by some 27 million households worldwide, and drama series Delhi Crime from filmmaker Richie Mehta.
As the streaming wars ramp up, India is a key emerging market for content providers. The country’s 1.3 billion+ population provides an enormous potential subscriber base.
Established VODs in the region include the Disney-owned platform Hotstar, which is the dominant streaming force in the market and recently crossed 400 million app downloads.
Netflix launched in India in December 2016. The company does not specify its subscriber numbers in individual territories but has some 160 million users worldwide.
Price was initially a barrier for Netflix, but back in the summer the U.S. service launched a lower tier at $2.81 (INR 199) per month for mobile and tablet users in an effort to compete with the likes of Hotstar, which offers a subscription plan at the same price (alongside its AVOD option) and Amazon, which is priced at $1.82 (INR 129) per month. Netflix offers four tiers in total, rising to $11.27 (INR 799) per month for its ‘premium’ plan.
India was the first territory where Netflix launched a mobile plan, and it has since rolled out the same model in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Monika Shergill, Director, International Originals, Netflix, said, “We believe that great stories can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. It’s exciting to partner with Viacom18 Studios and take these gripping stories to our members across India and the world. We can’t wait for fans to discover these beautifully crafted, well-produced series made by passionate and incredibly talented teams.”
Commenting on the partnership Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Studios, said, “I am delighted to partner with Netflix to debut Tipping Point’s series to the world. Each series is motivated by a film-scale mindset, honed over many years at Viacom18 Studios. We look forward to these distinctive series, with our trademark narratives, entertaining audiences in India and around the world.”
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