Reed Hastings: Netflix Is Investing 30 Billion Indian Rupees For Content In India

By Amit Chowdhry ● Dec 8, 2019
  • At a conference in New Delhi, Netflix Chairman / CEO Reed Hastings said that the company is investing 30 billion Indian rupees for original content in India

At a conference in New Delhi, India, Netflix Chairman / CEO Reed Hastings said that the streaming video company plans to make a big investment to produce and license content. Specifically, Hastings is planning to spend 30 billion Indian rupees (over $420 million) to produce and license content in India.

“This year and next year, we plan to spend about Rs 3,000 crores developing and licensing content and you will start to see a lot of stuff hit the screens,” said Hastings at the event via TechCrunch. And sources with TechCrunch said that there are no streaming services in India that are spending anything near that figure just on content.

A recent KPMG report estimated that Netflix rival Disney-owned Hotstar was spending around $17 million to produce seven original shows this year. And Eros Now was spending $50 million in its India business to create 100 original shows.

Netflix launched in India in early 2016 and produced over a couple dozen original shows and movies in the area. Plus it partnered with several local studios like Red Chillies Entertainment, the content studio owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan. During the event Hastings said that over 27 million households have started to watch “Mighty Little Bheem,” a children’s show on Netflix produced in India.

As a whole, Netflix is planning to spend $15 billion on content next year. And globally, Netflix has 158 million subscribers. The population of India is about 1.4 billion and about half of the population have access to online services. In order to reach a large portion of those users, Netflix launched a monthly tier of 199 Rupees ($2.80), which offers the streaming service in standard quality on mobile devices. 

There are several dozen on-demand video streaming services in India. Hotstar is one of the biggest and it offers access to thousands of TV shows and movies along with sports events. And Hotstar provides access to 80% of its catalog for free through an ad-supported model and a premium tier option for 999 Indian rupees ($14). As of May, Hotstar was hitting over 300 million monthly active users and the platform’s operator Star India has the rights to stream several cricket tournaments which helps drive its popularity. Some of the other on-demand video services in India include Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5, Sony LIV, Voot, and Times Internet.