Netflix, the U.S video streaming company has been in a talk with Viacom18, media unit Network 18, about a multi-year partnership to source content which will further expand the relationship between two sides, sources said. Netflix is currently competing against the video streaming services of Amazon.com Inc and Walt Disney Co. The partnership under which Network18 affiliates including its joint venture with Viacom18, Viacom CBS would create shows for Netflix to help it expand its offerings in India.
The company has still not established the partnership since the talks are in the first stage and secretive. There is yet no clarification made in financial terms and negotiations are in the early stage. Several other platforms like Amazon also has the licenses to the Viacom18 content. Viacom18 partnered with Netflix for three Hindi language shows in the previous year but the new tie up is about a much bigger tie up. Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani control Network 18 Media and Investment through subsidiaries of his oil-to -telecoms conglomerate Reliance industries. There is an investment of $13 billion for Reliance from Facebook Inc, KKR &Co. Other investors also approach Reliance’s digital units like Jio Platforms that house movies, music apps, and a telecom venture. Two of the sources did that there is a talk between Reliance executives and Netflix for negotiations. There is high pricing for Netflix than Amazon and Disney +Hotstar for its some of the most famous shows including Sacred games which is a crime thriller set in Mumbai and starring some of Bollywood’s biggest names.
Also, with the outbreak of Covid-19 there is an increased use of Digital media among people who are forced to stay indoors. Thus, many films and series were released in digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon etc. which attracted more people. Reed Hastings, CEO of the U.S based Netflix said in December that the company has decided to increase the investment to nearly 400 million during 2019 and 2020 to attract and engage more Indian viewers with high-quality content. Netflix’s growth also lies in its shows in local languages which helped more people to connect to it.