Interviews

“We are launching more than 10 films exclusively on Netflix in 2016” – Jonathan Friedland, Netflix

Netflix’s goal in India is to offer a fully global service with a global catalogue. And it would rather do it gradually than rush into the market headlong, …


Netflix’s goal in India is to offer a fully global service with a global catalogue. And it would rather do it gradually than rush into the market headlong, Jonathan Friedland tells Vinita Bhatia.

VB: How is Netflix getting Indian viewers to shift from linear TV to on-demand viewing?
JF: Whenever we launch in a new region, generally early tech adopters and entertainment enthusiasts are among the first to try the service. People still watch over billion hours of linear TV day. What they don’t love is being required to watch shows at a certain time on certain devices.

Netflix is an Internet TV network, which means content is delivered over the net. So, members have the option to watch on various screens to suit their viewing preferences. It offers exclusive programming including Netflix original TV series and movies, documentaries, stand-up comedies, kids TV shows and a variety of licensed programming. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen for a monthly price. They can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

VB: Your current catalogue is limited in terms of local and international content. How will you ensure that the upcoming index will include more titles?
JF: Netflix, a curated service, isn’t designed to offer every movie or TV series available. Instead, we are increasingly offering programming around the world simultaneously, whether it is Netflix original series or movies and titles we license from third parties. After we launch in a given market, we will almost immediately add more content to the service and in most markets the catalogue size doubles in the first year.

“We are pursuing recent Bollywood titles, notable indie films, memorable classic Bollywood titles and the best of regional cinema” – – Jonathan Friedland, Netflix

In 2016, we plan to spend about $5B on programming rights, including many titles that will be exclusive to Netflix globally. That includes over 30 new Netflix original series (or seasons of existing series. Most of these will be available to Netflix members everywhere, exclusively.

In addition, we are expanding our original film initiative, launching more than 10 films exclusively on Netflix in 2016. We are also adding more kids programming and documentaries.Our goal is to offer a fully global service with a global catalogue so no one has to wait for the hottest new show or movie. However, the world of content licensing has traditionally been very fragmented and regionalized. It will take some time, several years at least, to get to an offering that is the same everywhere.

VB: In addition to international and Hindi content, when will Netflix roll out vernacular content, which is especially popular in rural India?
JF: We are adding more titles as the service grows in popularity and we better understand what our members want to watch in each region. On the local front, we are pursuing recent Bollywood titles, notable indie films, memorable classic Bollywood titles and the best of regional cinema (Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi). Our goal is to bring Indian cinema to not only all regions of India but to the world, so you will find Indian film titles in all countries in which Netflix exists, accessible to all our over 75 million members.

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