Following the success of its original productions such as ‘Orange is the New Black’, Sens8 and Daredevil, Netflix is attempting to expand appeal for its streaming video service to the Indian sub-continent and east Asia through investing in original Bollywood and anime productions.
"We're hopeful that we'll, over time, make a great Bollywood show, make a great anime show," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Although Hastings acknowledged that audiences for such shows would be "more segmented" than most Netflix Originals, he added that "the internet lets you do that; the key is in that enablement."
The content creator has been dabbling in more internationally-focused material for a while now. Netflix has brought non-English programming such as Danish comedy-drama Rita to English-language territories, while its latest series Narcos, focused on Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, has been a huge success globally.
However, for Hastings' ideal of original anime and Bollywood productions to come to fruition, Netflix will have to engage with two of the most notoriously traditionalist media industries in the world. Anime production in particular is founded on knowing the right people and with all of them needing to sign off on the slightest detail in the series. Bollywood is also known to be a very ‘insiders only’ club. If Netflix can disrupt those systems to any degree and bring the results to international audiences, it could be very good news for fans and creators alike.