New Delhi: Netflix plans to expand its local content in India over the next year with special focus on producing original feature films, a top executive at the American video streaming platform said. Apart from acquiring movies which are already released in theatres, the company is keen on made-for-Netflix movies.

“We have a plan where we are expanding our originals initiative in India to not just do more web series, but also more films," Erik Barmack, vice-president, International Originals, Netflix, said in a phone interview. “Our goal is to get eight to 10, maybe 12 films that are originals, produced and delivered per year," These, added Barmack, would be in addition to the films Netflix acquires from movie studios.

Netflix recently named Shrishti Behl as director, international originals, India. Industry experts estimate the company has set aside Rs500-600 crore per year to invest in original content in India. So far, it has signed deals with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, Anurag Kashyap’s Phantom Films and Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network Pvt. Ltd.

Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint
Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint

“Our investment in India is going to be fairly deep. We’re looking at really high-quality films that feature important Indian talent for a global audience," Barmack said. According to a 2017 Ficci-EY report, 250 million Indians consume online videos, making the country a natural choice for companies such as Netflix.

Little surprise, then, that Behl’s appointment is seen as a major coup. Behl has been involved in several film and television projects.

“What Amazon has done by signing up leading production houses and corporate studios is a no-brainer, but Netflix is working more organically to look for people who are rooted and connected to the industry. It may be a longer route, but they’re identifying the best possible resources," said Utpal Acharya, founder of film company Indian Film Studios.

Netflix’s The Crown has become one of the company’s most popular original series.

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