Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), has announced plans to spend 30 billion Indian rupees, or $420.5 million, on producing and licensing content in India by the end of next year. That is part of about $15 billion to be spent on content globally next year. According to the announcement, the majority of the spending will be focused on original programming. Reports show Netflix spent roughly the same amount in India this year.
With growth in U.S. subscriptions slowing, international markets such as India are viewed as the next chapter of Netflix’s growth story. While the company has never shared the number of subscribers it has in India, Netflix is estimated to have roughly 4.1 million subscribers in India right now, according to the research firm IHS Markit. With about half of the nation’s 1.3 billion population now online, Netflix has set the ambitious goal of eventually having 100 million subscribers in the country.
Netflix charges significantly less for subscriptions in India than it does in the U.S. Netflix’s existing subscription prices start at $7 (500 rupees) per month for its basic service and it offers a mobile-only plan priced at $2.80 (199 rupees) per month. In the financial year that ended in March, the company posted revenue of $65 million and profit of about $720,000 for its India business.
Netflix launched in India in 2016 as part of its global rollout in 190 countries. Since then, it has been building up its local slate, producing more than two dozen original shows and movies in the country. Its first Indian original, Sacred Games, was recently nominated in the International Emmy Awards. Its animated show “Mightly Little Bheem” has been watched by more than 27 million households outside of India. The company has also inked partnerships with a number of local studios across the country.