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

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MUMBAI: Netflix is plumping up on executives of Indian origin as it continues to build its content catalogue targeted at the 1.3 billion strong population nation. Amongst the first to be hired for India was former Star TV-exec-turned-independent film producer,  Swati Shetty, who has been shuttling between Los Angeles and India. The latest to be recruited is experienced programming executive from traditional media, Freeform’s SVP - scripted development Simran Sethi. Sethi has left the Disney-owned network Freeform (earlier ABC Family)  to join Netflix International Originals Production Group in its in the Los Angeles office as the creative executive for India. Her immediate reporting superior is executive Erika North.

Netflix, in the past couple of years, has been employing executives from traditional TV networks and studios.

It, along with Amazon Prime Video, sees India's 300 million smartphone users  as the great hope for global expansion.

Netflix, which rated India's Spectranet speed in July as climbing up to 3.19 Mbps, recently unveiled the Gateway Shows that lead to a heroic binge as it seems to know what viewers watch. Viewers are finding their way to the adventures of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist through shows as diverse as the Defenders crew. And, it’s by design - more than 80 per cent of the shows are discovered through Netflix recommendations.

“At Netflix, we know genres are just wrappers, which is why we work hard to create algorithms that help members break these pre-conceived notions and make it easier for them to find stories they’ll love, even in seemingly unlikely places,” said Netflix VP of product Todd Yellin.

A couple of months ago, Netflix head honchos Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings met with Indian filmstars Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan as a part of its effort to break through in the subcontinent before competition does. Now, Netflix is bringing in experts such as Sethi to head India content.

Sethi had joined Freeform in August 2015 where she helped lead the programming rebrand of ABC Family to Freeform, including developing the new series Famous in LoveThe Bold Type, late-night show Truth & Iliza,  the upcoming Marvel series Cloak and Dagger,  the mermaid thriller Siren, and the Black-ish  spin-off, among others. Before joining Freeform, Sethi worked at NBC, Sony Pictures Television and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison after receiving her MBA from Stanford Business School.

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