Let’s Read and Discuss an Interesting Article on Netflix and India and Why it Failed!

Thank you Angie for a really interesting article!!! Which quotes Raja Sen, my favorite reviewer, woot!

Here is the link to the article. It’s well written and fairly well-researched, and most of all it’s original and able to break out of the standard narrative of success/failure in the Indian market:


I was gonna write a whole thing to start the discussion, but then I realized I already replied to Angie with a big thing, so I’m just gonna copy and paste my comment to her. Laziness! Woot!

My big take away is that everyone has confused Indian internet access with Indian money value all along. The only way the Indian market can afford a streaming service is if the prices are so low that they prevent profit. Which is the same issue Indian films had in the pre-multiplex era, if the budget gets too big, the cheap ticket prices the audience can afford will never be able to catch up. Now the regular audience just doesn’t watch movies while the top 0.5% provides the profits. That balances out because if everyone in the top 0.5% of Indian audience buys a movie ticket, it is pretty much the same number as the much small percentage of people in other countries who regularly go to the movies. It’s 100% of a small percentage of the population instead of a small percentage of 100% of the population, if that makes sense?

But the same thing isn’t true for the streaming audience. It’s a small percentage of the population that can afford standard streaming fees, and it’s a small percentage of that small percentage that is going to be interested. A smaller percentage than in other countries probably. The Vast Untapped Indian Streaming Market is really just a wee bit bigger than, say, the Swiss streaming market.

The best money to make from Indian content is in the diaspora. Hilarious that this article says the successful Netflix India execs were the NRIs. Because of course they were! The profitable audience for Netflix India content are the folks who don’t want to be living in India. They’ve been hitting the gritty grounded blah blah blah content. But Prime went after Made in Heaven and Family Man, big fun dramatic over the top things that anyone can enjoy living anywhere. Successful Bangalore IT professionals, NRIs living in Paris, IIT students planning to move out of country as soon as they graduate, disposable income folks.

Watch Made In Heaven - Season 1 | Prime Video

But mostly I’m stuck on the idioticness of buying into the India Rising propaganda. It’s an impoverished country! Doesn’t matter how many people are there if they don’t have any MONEY. Look at the actual numbers of disposable income available to you before you start breaking into a new consumer market. Idiots.

Oh, and I can’t help but notice the few movies listed as actually successful were the ones where NETFLIX PUT ON FREAKIN’ DUBBING AND SUBTITLES. It’s not that complicated, sheesh.


14 thoughts on “Let’s Read and Discuss an Interesting Article on Netflix and India and Why it Failed!

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read and Discuss an Interesting Article on Netflix and India and Why it Failed! » Filmybilla

  2. Pingback: Let’s Learn and Focus on an Attention-grabbing Article on Netflix and India and Why it Failed! » Filmybilla

  3. Reposting my comment:

    Beside Family Man and Made in Heaven, Prime also has Bandish Bandits – a simple but well done series about classical singer and his family, filled with great music (made by Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy) , family dynamics and beautiful colours. This is what Netflix can’t understand. They produce one dark series after another and think that people will watch it because it has Radhika Apte or Nawazuddin Siddiqui. A Indian crew doesn’t make a Indian movie. It must have the right ingredients.


    • Also regarding “Indian content is popular only in countries with big Indian diaspora”. Of course because why an European should watch e.g Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein? Don’t get me wrong, maybe it’s not bad but the trailer is absolutely mediocre and not inviting. I subscribed to Netflix exclusively for Indian content, and I’m interested in every desi movie/series but even I don’t want to waste my time watching another dark series about people who kill each other. And still Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is available here, but Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui which is colorful, different and modern is not (it’s been a month and I think it will never arrive). And they are asking themselves why Indian content is not popular outside India.


      • Yes! They have this huge success with Korean content, but they are taking things that were already super popular in Korea, providing them with good subtitles and availability worldwide, and then waiting to see what got good ratings before creating their own content. Just DO THE SAME THING WITH INDIA!!!! Provide a lot of stuff that has proven success, provide it universally across all platforms, and then imitate it.

        Come to think of it, they had Humsafar! If they wanted to do serieses, start with the Pakistani TV serieses that are such huge hits, then pick up the Indian made serieses that imitate them (there is a lot of really interesting stuff out there, beyond the Saas-Bahu shows), provide them through all markets with good subs, and then greenlight things based one what folks watch.

        Why do we have Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen as a series when Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai were the biggest international hits from South Asia? It’s OBVIOUS!

        On Fri, Feb 4, 2022 at 2:44 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Yes! An Indian crew doesn’t make an Indian movie!!! I was really interested in the point in the article that they had a successful team supervising, and then fired them because they wouldn’t move to Bombay. It was an Indian heritage team, they just didn’t want to live in India. Netflix insisted on an Indian base and Indian content, and they lost the team that greenlit Love Per Square Foot and Sacred Games.

      On Fri, Feb 4, 2022 at 2:23 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  4. I think it boils down to quality of content, and how few shows/movies are actually good. When Netflix entered India, everyone I knew jumped onto the bandwagon – solid middle-class people (not too rich, not too poor). If Netflix had just managed to hold on to that audience, they would have succeeded due to the large population.

    But Prime came, Hotstar (with its triple whammy of Disney +, sports programming + HBO top shows), and now Apple TV, and Netflix just couldn’t compete.

    Everybody had already binge-watched the top shows (Narcos, Money Heist, and a few others were incredibly popular) . The newer ones just don’t capture that same interest. I don’t remember the last time anything interesting was on Netflix (honestly speaking even Prime is pretty dire these days).

    India is an incredibly value for money type of market. Once Netflix stopped providing value, people started sharing subscriptions, then dropping out. I know tons of people who use vpn and access Netflix US content, because so many shows/movies are not available in India.

    Also, Torrent downloads are super popular and shared. That’s why Netflix is losing money – to recoup, they should just increase the number and quality of shows – they don’t even need to focus on Hindi or local language content – that is not their market. But just get the best content from across the globe and provide it here.


    • I would say, it’s quality of content and also MONEY. One point in the article was how very little of their budget Netflix is spending on Netflix India. For whatever reason, they aren’t willing to spend money to pay for Indian rights for the top shows. Or even for rights to the top films from India. They are making original content, but actually that’s probably cheaper than buying rights for the good stuff. I think they probably realized early on that breaking into the market would mean spending a ton of money and they weren’t willing to do that.

      On Fri, Feb 4, 2022 at 3:13 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. Netflix was to obsessed with doing the same content they were doing outside of India without understanding the Indian market. Yes Sacred Games was a hit, however it was also the first time people realised streaming is where you can show sex, drugs and abusive language as the censor board didn’t exist. However after that novelty, these shows eventually get tiring. People like Family friendly content which you can watch with your family rather than all these dark shows. Even people who aren’t about family friendly movies eventually get tired of the dark shows. You need different genres rather than the same gritty thriller. Also among the richer 1%, Netflix stills seems lesser than Amazon’s content. As Amazon has so many different movies of so many era’s and produces different genres rather than the same gritty thrillers. It’s often frustrating that these rich seemingly smart execs can’t figure out what the rest of the public has figured out long. Also Netflix in India is looked at as the dumping ground of shitty movies.


    • Yes!!!! Their big hit was Murali Minalli. Which doesn’t have big names or big budget, but it’s happy and family friendly and it’s dubbed in every language so you can watch with your kids even if they can’t read subtitles.


  6. Netflix should learn from Zee5 and Alt Balaji how to make a series. I really liked those two trailers I saw by case some time ago. The time passed and I still remember both trailers and the titles.


    • Yes! There’s some really interesting serieses out there that aren’t just “India is filled with crime and violence”

      On Fri, Feb 4, 2022 at 1:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  7. Pingback: आइए नेटफ्लिक्स और भारत पर एक दिलचस्प लेख पढ़ें और चर्चा करें और यह विफल क्यों हुआ! – Dailyhant

  8. Pingback: Let’s Read and Discuss an Interesting Article on Netflix and India and Why it Failed! – atlmusicvideos

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