Art & Entertainment

Will Netflix India Focus More On Regional Content In Coming Times? Monika Shergill Answers

With the OTT boom giving regional cinema a much needed push on the global map, Monika Shergill believes growth of content is a natural progression for Netflix's journey.

Monika Shergill says that with good content's growth, Netflix India too, will grow.

The growth of regional cinema in India has become almost synonymous with the OTT boom, especially in last three years. With  viewers from around the world getting more access to Indian content many filmmakers from Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi cinema are choosing to showcase their films via renowned OTT platforms. One such platform, which is showcasing diverse content from India and around the world is Netflix. 

As the competition in the digital world stiffens, Monika Shergill, VP, Content, Netflix India talks about their strategy to digging up good regional content further and bring it to their viewers. 

In the last few months, the OTT giant has brought many south films to the screen, including Malayalam film 'Minnal Murali', Rajinikanth's Tamil film 'Annaatthe' and Nani's Telugu blockbuster 'Shyam Singha Roy'.

So, does Netflix have a strategy in place to focus more on Indian regional content?

"I think even those boundaries have actually dissolved now. We are currently seeing regional stories, regional cinema. But I think stories are travelling pan India. Stories are travelling globally and as a service that really looks out for diverse stories and talent from across the country, I don't think that's even a question in our mind," Shergill says. 

Adding to that she says that as content travels across boundaries, the growth for them is very natural.

"It is just a progression of a journey. As you start programming more and more, you go deeper and deeper. Just like you go deeper with the audiences, you go deeper across different industries within our country, across different languages. 'Minnal Murali', is a very fine example and we have Rajnikanth’s 'Annaatthe', we had Dulquer’s (Salmaan)'Kurup', just in the last few months. We have so many more films coming. We have original series content coming in different languages. So with every sort of passing month, you're programming more, you're finding more stories and that is a very natural progression," she says. 

Netflix India was launched in 2016. While the official numbers have never been released, it is reported that the OTT platform enjoys a subscription of 4.3 million to 4.5 million people in India.

Going ahead, how does the digital entertainment platform plan to expand?

Shergill says, "Netflix if you see, the world over, in every country, we are a service that gives all kinds of stories. The diversity of stories, the diversity of formats, the number of languages we program in, the kind of different heterogeneous audiences that we cater to. So in every country that is what our strategy is and that is what we’re doing in India also. We are on a very very strong growth path, we have great momentum with our audiences...there are so many films, series and licenced films (feature films) coming to the service that for us the strategy is very simple. It is Netflix for all and everything that we do is targeted to the largest base of audience."

The OTT platform recently release Madhuri Dixit starrer 'The Fame Game', which received positive reviews from the critics, fans and viewers alike. Shergill truly feels that the format of the series allowed artists to breath creativity in the best way. 

"The format of a series really allows for an artist to perform and show so many shades, that they can demonstrate and that is where you have seen Madhuri in her features, you always admired her in her different roles. The way you see her, the emotional roller coaster she goes through, the grace and the dignity with which she performs, the way she crumbles, the way her emotional side is. Then I think about the entire cast and the kind of story that it is, with the suspense on one side, the mystery and yet the family relations on the other, the very universal emotions on the other; it’s really a very rich experience of storytelling and performance," she concludes.

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