Netflix’s head of Global TV, Bela Bajaria spoke to Business Today exclusively on the exciting line up of content for Netflix India this year. India, being an important market for Netflix from both audience and talent standpoint, Bela Bajaria’s visit to Indian subcontinent in early 2022 further strengthens the streaming giant’s commitment to giving its audiences quality content with a starry line up of films and series all throughout this year and the next.
Watch the complete roundtable with Bela, along with some of the finest talents of Netflix India spanning across films and series, such as the veteran actor Anil Kapoor whose Thar is releasing soon, Rajkummar Rao, Shefali Shah, and Sakshi Tanwar of Mai.
AB: Who is consuming this content? India being such a complex market, you have tried moderating prices and mobile only viewing as a service, are you trying to woo the regional audiences? How are you looking to expand your reach? Who is the target audience and how do you drive that trajectory in subscribers in India?
BB: Globally we have around 220 million members. We want to entertain everyone around the world. People have a wide variety of taste and variety and quality is important to us. People may want to watch Bollywood Wives or Indian Matchmaking and also perhaps a Delhi Crime, Mai, or Queen’s Gambit, so we have a wide range of taste and mood and across categories from comedy to drama, each super-serving and hopefully best in class in that kind of show. There are lots of different tastes in India, and in our titles here we have a lot of variety in roles and tones and mood. We want to have everyone’s favourite show and movie. We want you to be able to find that – local things that you love in your local language, regional language, a global show not in your language, everything. It’s not targeted at demos, we look at taste.
AB: Our friend Elon Musk has been dishing Netflix for choosing woke issues. Is that a fair criticism? How do you choose your shows?
BB: We have such a variety in every category, from films, documentaries, unscripted shows, scripted, reality, and those start with creators behind the camera. We are an entertainment company, we want to entertain people first and foremost. And look at the amount of storytelling we have from people from different backgrounds, different views, we want to be inclusive, have more volume, from all over the world, all with the goal of entertaining. We have themes that resonate, whether they are full on entertainment, thought provoking through entertainment, but encompassing a wide variety and lots of different creator visions.
AB: You’re here in India and that shows the importance of the Indian market for Netflix globally while it has been in the news for its huge loss of subscribers globally due to its norms on password sharing, and increased competition. In this context how important is India to overall strategy?
BB: India is a very important market with an incredible creative community and we want members across the world. Yes there is access to a global platform but this service without the kind of talent we have here would not work. This is why our members are so excited about Netflix. India is an important part of global strategy.
AB: Do you see Indian content being globally at par? And do we need better production budgets to create global hits like The Crown or Money Heist?
BB: There has been great investment in India. What’s exciting is that the amazing content has been coming out – Aranyak, Kapil Sharma, Fame Game and now Mai is resonating among global audiences. We are also seeing returning seasons of fan favourites like Delhi Crime, and really high quality of upcoming shows and films like Monica Oh My Darling. The investment in India is a big one and a big commitment in India, important part of our growth. Budgets depend on the storyline and what it entails. Something like The Crown required heavy sets and costumes. We are fully committed to creating quality content from India.
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