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Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos says India is 'TV starved'

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MUMBAI: This could really make television executives in India, who have built a multi-billion dollar business, gnash their teeth. We are referring to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos’ comment at the fifth MoffettNathanson Annual Media & Communications Summit, which is on in New York between 14 and 15 May.

“There is no real great local television in India,” he said. “It is a television starved market.”

He went to add that the interesting thing about the Indian market is that it is a culture that loves cinema. “What we are trying to do is bring something new to the country with cinema-infused television. Bit budget big scale productions in long form storytelling. We think this is going to differentiate us from the market,” he explained. “We believe that it is the big budget production with scale and local stars  which I think people like as much as the movies.”

Sarandos went to explain that the streaming app has six tent pole shows under various stages of production in India and the first one to see the light of day will be Sacred Games.

The streaming service obviously has got big plans under its sleeves for India. Amongst the senior professionals that it has hired for India  and is currently training in its US HQ figure Shrishti Behl, the Netflix director for originals, and former Fox senior executive Swati Mohan, who will be looking after marketing for Netflix as a brand in India.

Sarandos added that productions are underway in 17 countries. And the reason that the streaming app is getting into originals is that clearing rights from existing content owners and studios was getting tooi expensive compared to the value they offered. Netflix has no control over the quality of the shows or the structure, hence that was a chellenge, he explained. Also  being able to get early windows was challenging. Additionally, Netflix users were increasingly watching original programming, hence the drive will be more towards creating new shows.

He pointed out that the French press  read  Netflix's  withdrawal from the Cannes Film competition wrongly. "We are totally interested in complying with the law that says that films need to be released in theatres and cannot be streamed online on a subscription model until three years between theatrical release is complete," he said. "That law means we do not release our films in France in theatres. The past year the Cannes Film Festival applied this rule that we have to introduce our films in theatres in France to be eligible for the competition. We decided to pass because we would rather release our movies for millions oif viewers online in France than a limited number involved with the Cannes Film Festival."

Also Read :

Netflix announces unscripted series on Mumbai Indians

Localised content the way forward for Netflix in India

Indian content at Netflix to be creatively lead by Disney's Simran Sethi

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