Netflix eyes 100MN Indian subscribers as it ramps up local originals
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Rebecca Hawkes
| 26 February 2018

Netflix’s next 100 million customers will come from India, CEO Reed Hastings has told delegates at the Global Business Summit in New Delhi.

He also said the global subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service has the potential to become a significant exporter of Indian stories.

The streaming giant has now commissioned three more Indian original series to join existing productions Sacred Games, Selection Day and Bard of Blood.

Based on the Vikram Chandra novel, Sacred Games is due to stream on Netflix in December.

“We are proud to continue to invest in original content in India. These three series, from the scary to the supernatural, represent the tremendous diversity that Indian storytelling holds for a global audience. We are thrilled to work with some of the world's most talented writers and producers to bring these stories to life for India and the world,” said Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series, Netflix.

Leila, based on a book by Prayaag Akbar is written and executive produced by Urmi Juvekar. It centres on Shalini, a woman in search of the daughter she lost when arrested 16 years earlier. The SVOD company describes it as an ‘inventive, boundary-breaking story’ concerned with longing, faith and loss.

Horror series Ghoul, based on Arabic folklore, is set in a covert detention centre. Interrogator Nida has turned in her own father as an anti-government activist but now faces terrorists held at the centre who are not of this world. The supernatural drama is written and directed by Patrick Graham, and starring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul.

Binky Mendez-penned young adult murder mystery thriller, Crocodile, is set in Goa. After Mira’s best friend goes missing, she sets out to investigate, uncovering secrets among her friends, romances and community.

Last year Netflix said it aimed to produce at least five or six Indian originals a year .

The surge in Internet connections and confidence in its growth across the country has aided Netflix, Hastings said at the Global Business Summit. “Even we couldn’t predict the last two years of Indian Internet growth,” he added.

“It’s the most phenomenal example anywhere in the world in terms of lower data cost, more people online, penetration of 4G. We didn’t that coming, we just got lucky on that one!” said Hastings.