Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Netflix India content chief reveals strategy

Netflix India has expanded existing partnerships and forged new ones with several of the country’s leading production houses.

They include T-Series, Red Chillies Entertainment, Pooja Entertainment, Viacom 18 Studios, Luv Films, Reliance Entertainment, RSVP Movies, Benaras Media Works, Maddock Films, Junglee Pictures, Balaji Telefilms, and Matchbox Shots.

Monika Shergill, VP of Content at Netflix India, says: “With some studios, we have a partnership to bring more of their movies onto the service, like T-series, we’ve been doing a lot of movies with them.” Pooja Entertainment, RSVP, Red Chillies – They’ve been partners for a long time. But in general, we are working with many.”

Shergil spoke with Variety on Monday, a day Netflix celebrated in India as Cinema Day, with a showcase of previously announced titles. “Where we come from, is to continue to expand the service, to continue to increase access to continue to reach ever newer audiences. And that’s where we’ve curated our movie slate with a lot of care and passion, whether it’s through original movies or the post-theatrical slate, for which we’ve teamed up with partners,” says Shergill.

Movie Day celebrated a mix of released, previously announced and new titles, all in the Hindi language. They include “Darlings,” a film revolving around domestic abuse co-produced with and starring Bollywood star Alia Bhatt, which debuted as the biggest non-English-language original movie opening for the service worldwide.

Other titles shown on Film Day included “Chakda ‘Xpress”, a film inspired by the life of cricketer Jhulan Goswami starring Anushka Sharma; the heist thriller “Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga,” starring Yami Gautam; “Jogi”, set during the 1984 Delhi riots, starring Diljit Dosanjh and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar (“Sultan”), the satire “Kathal”, starring Sanya Malhotra; Vishal Bhardwaj’s spy thriller “Khufiya,” starring Tabu, Ali Fazal and Azmeri Haque Badhon; and Vasan Bala’s crime novel “Monica O My Darling,” with Rajkummar Rao, Huma S. Qureshi and Radhika Apte.

Other titles featured on the day included Shashanka Ghosh’s romantic comedy “Plan A Plan B,” starring Riteish Deshmukh and Tamannaah Bhatia; the intense drama “Qala,” directed by Anvita Dutt; Zoya Akhtar’s comic book adaptation “The Archies”; and the Indian adaptation of “The Devotion of Suspect X,” headed by Kareena Kapoor Khan and directed by Sujoy Ghosh (“Kahaani”).

Shergill points out that Indian movies have appeared on Netflix’s non-English language charts for 31 of the last 34 weeks, five Indian titles have appeared on Netflix’s top 10 worldwide charts this year, and that the audience for Indian movies in service has increased by 50% from last year. Hits from the service include “Gangubai Kathiawadi”, “RRR” and “Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2”.

“Everything points not only to the passion that the Indian public has for cinema in India, but also that we are doing something right, the type of stories that we select, that we bring to the public, what we are learning from. them, the signals we get from them, what they like, actually makes us deliver better,” says Shergill.

The executive is optimistic about the streaming service’s growth in an ultra-competitive Indian streaming market. In addition to increasing Hindi content, the strategy over the next five years is to further expand the steps it has taken into South Indian Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam, both in post-film acquisitions and original commissions. The three languages ​​are a “very large area of ​​focus” and Netflix is ​​”looking for a very strong lineup,” says Shergill, adding that as the broadcaster’s efforts in dubbing and subtitling increase, the audience is “increasingly agnostic.” of language.”

India also has a large cohort of streamers catering specifically to individual languages, but Netflix has no plans in its roadmap to micro-target these, instead focusing on “large, diverse entertainment,” says Shergill. “I can tell you with a lot of confidence that at Netflix we may be the only service, looking forward, to program the most diverse content across all formats,” says Shergill. “When I say big, I mean big in terms of scale and ambition and has an alignment between local and global, serving a wide set of audience.”

Meanwhile, Shergill says Netflix’s slate is maturing, citing the success of “Delhi Crime” season 2, which is proving to be a critical success and audience favorite.

“Broadcast is a medium where you can’t run away from what’s at the core of your narrative, and that’s great writing. Because the moment you open your app, you have a ton of options in front of you, and no one can force you to sit and watch and spend your time on something,” says Shergill. “What we’re looking for are great scripts.”


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