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Netflix hires Indian origin TV exec Bela Bajaria as content VP

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MUMBAI: Even as Netflix has been strengthening its Asia team by hiring locals with Asian and international experience, it has also been bolstering the talent at its HQ.  Last week, the leading global video streaming site, announced that it had roped in former Universal Television (NBCUniversal’s TV unit) president Bela Bajaria as vice-president of content. She is slated to join Netflix from 1 November, replacing Sean Carey, who is leaving the company.

The London-born-but-raised-in-east-Africa-and-settled-in-Los-Angeles Bajaria is of Indian origin, At Universal Television, Bajaria supervised creative programming for the studio and producing such hit series as Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for Netflix; Brooklyn Nine-Nine for FOX; The Mindy Project for FOX and Hulu; Superstore for NBC and Bates Motel for A&E, among several others. She developed Gypsy, starring Naomi Watts, for Netflix which will premiere in 2017 as well as Pure Genius for CBS and The Good Place for NBC, which are on the network’s 2016 fall schedules.

Bajaria has in the past been ranked amongst the top  TV executives in the US when she headed Universal Television.  She left the production outfit  when she had a run-in with executives at NBC Studios for not buying enough content from her company, even though Fox and CBS were.

At Netflix, Bajaria has been mandated with leading the team focused on TV and film licensing from major U. studios, as well co-production relationships with major US networks. She will also oversee a new team developing original unscripted programs for Netflix.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos have said time and time again that the company wants to keep showcase the best in class engaging content for its subscribers and a budget of $5 billion has been kept aside for this year to acquire and create content.

“Bela is a great creative television executive with broad experience and deep industry relationships,” said Sarandos. “Having worked closely with her on Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, we know we have found the perfect executive to lead this new effort.”

"I am looking forward to joining Netflix, an innovative company that supports creative vision and fosters risk-taking. Having worked closely with Ted, Cindy and the team, I know they are great creative partners and care deeply about the experience of talent, their partners and their members,” said Bela Bajaria. “They are a dynamic group and I’m looking forward to continue building new partnerships at Netflix with amazing talent and studio and network colleagues."

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