The stakes are high in India for video streaming major Netflix with Amazon upping its game with most of the new movies making it to Prime Video. And to take on Amazon Prime and capture the Indian market, Netflix is betting big on local content.
Amid much fanfare, Netflix this week launched its first original series Sacred Games starring Saif Ali Khan. It has to be borne in mind that Netflix’ run of successes in most markets has been on the back of internationally popular serials like House of Cards and it is in this context that the Indian story has to be viewed.
Netflix is reported to have earmarked $8 billion for producing original content and this includes the Indian market as well. The focus on India has also gained strength due to a lot of restrictions in place in the other huge market, China.
In “Sacred Games” Saif Ali Khan plays the lead role as a police officer and the theme revolves around a terrorist threat to Mumbai. The other popular artists include Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte and the show is directed by Anurag Kashyap.
The series is a typical Bollywood production and the language is Hindi. This is the second offering of local content by Netflix, after ‘Lust Stories’. The target viewer is a young urban middle and upper middle class already familiar with similar crime thrillers from the West. Both Netflix and Amazon prime carry many of them on their regular fare.
There is a scramble for eyeballs in the Indian TV and video streaming segment. Netflix and Amazon are already in. Hostar is also a major player in this space with several other smaller players such as Voot, Eros now, Spuul, among others. Comcast and Walt Disney too, are desperate to get a foothold and they are eyeing Tata Sky as the route.