- Streaming service Netflix posted a net profit of Rs. 5.1 crore with Rs. 466.7 crore sales for FY19 & has expanded more than 700 percent during 2018-19.
- To be sure, India’s Netflix game plan focuses on creating local content with movie stars that are popular and expanding deep into mass centers and small towns.
The Indian arm of American streaming service Netflix expanded more than 700 percent during 2018-19, posting Rs. 466.7 crore sales for FY19 with a net profit of Rs. 5.1 crore, according to its filing with the company registrar. The video-on-demand company owned by Reed Hastings had a turnover of Rs. 58 crore in FY18 with Rs. 20 lakh net profit.
To be sure, India’s Netflix game plan focuses on profit, creating local content with movie stars that are popular and expanding deep into mass centers and small towns.
This July, the American streaming giant unveiled a mobile-only subscription plan at Rs. 199 a month in the country and says the new deal has produced good profit for Netflix. In addition to the existing basic (Rs. 499), regular (Rs. 649) and premium (Rs. 799), the Rs. 199 plan is Netflix’s first mobile-specific option anywhere in the world and its fourth India product.
“Historically, the majority of the world’s entertainment content was produced in the English language in Hollywood,” said Greg Peters, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer at a conference in Los Angeles earlier this year. “We see a tremendous opportunity in that gap.
We believe that people have always desired authentic storytelling rooted in local culture and that locality sheds light on the story’s universal themes. And it doesn’t matter what language you speak or where you live. If we do that well, it’s the stuff great storytelling is made of, and it’s always been. “Netflix’s array of collaborations includes one with Dharmatic Entertainment, Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions digital content arm, and Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment for a series of original films and shows.
In addition to big-ticket original Indian web shows such as Sacred Games and Bard of Blood, feature films such as Johar’s Drive and Guilty, Ajay Devgn’s Tribhanga starring Kajol, horror anthology Ghost Stories, Dibakar Banerjee’s Freedom and Atul
Additionally, this week Disney launches its Disney+ streaming platform in the US, whose lineup of Marvel and Pixar content will be delivered to India through Hotstar in local Indian languages, although Apple TV+ is already available to users in the state, albeit at present without Indian originals.
Of course, the road ahead is still long for every video streaming platform in India looking to cash in on the fast-growing online video audience of the country. For one thing, the networks of OTT (over-the-top) have not cracked the magic formula to make money.
Sabharwal’s Class of’ 83, created by Red Chillies, is also shown.
Netflix is still competing with a number of local and international competitors in India, including Disney-owned streaming service Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5, and ALTBalaji, which lure free and low-priced users.
All business models, advertisements and subscriptions, are facing challenges. Subscription issues start with the price point of the service while the market has not expanded to the same degree as the total online video space for advertising video-on-demand platforms. Second, it is said that the essence of India’s online video audience is male-dominated with a local language affinity. Consequently, this leads to grim, gritty thrillers and gangster dramas such as Sacred Games and Mirzapur from Amazon, which has limited appeal to female audiences. Piracy is the third.
As with linear models such as movies and TV, OTT series, including Sacred Games, are available within hours of release on torrent websites.
“There are a lot of challenges, but we’re in India’s investment model. And we’re going to spend more on local content development for a long time than we get home. But that’s part of having the long-term view, “said last year Netflix creator and chief executive Reed Hastings on the sidelines of an Asia Pacific slate meeting.