American streaming platform Netflix is looking at spending Rs. 3,000 crore over the next one year at creating content in India, a country that it says watches a mix of local and foreign shows and films.
“We are only getting started here and the centerpiece of our story is content,” Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Friday. While the streaming service has 160 million subscribers globally, it hasn’t revealed its India numbers yet.
Hastings said Netflix has nearly a hundred employees at its Mumbai office, across marketing and support teams and another thousand developing content for it in various capacities. It is looking to staff up constantly.
“The journey always starts from a good story,” Hastings said, talking about the service’s method of working and green lighting projects. In India, the video-on-demand platform has announced a range of films and shows including an adaptation of The White Tiger with Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao, Ajay Devgn’s Tribhanga featuring Kajol, Dibakar Banerjee’s Freedom and Atul Sabbarwal’s Class of ‘83, among several others.
Netflix’s big Indian successes, this past year, have been Sacred Games, Delhi Crime, Little Things and animation show, Mighty Little Bheem, Hastings said.
The Indian arm of the American streaming service grew more than 700% during 2018-19, recording revenues of Rs. 466.7 crore for FY 19, with a net profit of Rs. 5.1 crore, according to its filing with the Registrar of Companies.
The video-on-demand platform has a turnover of Rs. 58 crore with a net profit of Rs. 20 lakh in 2018.
Given the wide debate on the possibility of censorship on video streaming platforms soon, Hastings said the platform will look at balancing creative freedom with the laws of the land and culture it is operating in.
“Self-regulation is the pragmatic middle ground,” he said.―Livemint