NEW DELHI: Digital streaming service Netflix today said it has partnered with Airtel, Videocon d2h and Vodafone in India as it looks to ramp up its presence in the Indian market. The US-based firm, which is up against strong competition from rivals like Amazon Prime, HotStar and others in the Indian market, is investing aggressively in local content.
"India is one of the most important and we are delighted to be teaming up with three of India's leading companies. The partnerships with Airtel and Videocon d2h is for set top boxes while the Vodafone partnership is for payment integration," Netflix Co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings told reporters here. Adding that the growth in consumption has also been driven by free data offering from new-comer Reliance Jio, Hastings said Netflix is in discussion with many other players in India for partnerships.
Hastings, on his maiden trip to India, said the company has seen strong adoption of its services since its launch in the country in January last year. "We have a strong growth here (India), stronger than all the other Asian nations (except China, where Netflix is not present)... We are investing heavily on content. The content has doubled over the last year and we expect it to double next year. We are also setting up a Mumbai office," he said.
Hastings, however, declined to comment on investment details. Netflix has offices in the US, Amsterdam, London, Singapore and Tokyo. It has about 94 million users globally, of which 40 million are outside the US.
"In 2017, we'll be working on making our Indian service better in every dimension. We are keen on bringing more locally-produced series and films to our more than 93 million members households globally," Hastings said.
In December, Netflix had inked a long-term deal with Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies to give viewers exclusive access to the Bollywood superstar's upcoming as well as past films. Despite the intense competition, Hastings said the company will focus on improving its content library and continue to have a premium play rather than changing prices.
Netflix, which has gained popularity in India on the back of successful shows like Narcos and The Crown, is also keen on bringing more original programming to consumers. He added that this will help bring content to users across markets without worrying about licensing the content. The company is also looking at introducing more payment options for Indian users, given the low penetration of credit cards.