Amazon and Netflix seek to boost Indian movies and web series in $54m deal

Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. are among the platform partners of Indian production house Clean Slate Filmz Pvt. to release films and web series.

Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. are among the platform partners of Indian production house Clean Slate Filmz Pvt. to release movies and web series worth around 4 billion rupees ($54 million) as the battle for content intensifies in one of the biggest entertainment markets in the world. Clean Slate Filmz, based in the heart of Bollywood in Mumbai, will release eight films and series on these over-the-top streaming sites along with a few more over the next 18 months, the studio’s 37-year-old co-founder, Karnesh Ssharma, told Bloomberg. Ssharma declined to provide a full list before their official announcement.

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed they would be rolling out three upcoming productions with Clean Slate Filmz, while Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The release slate is the latest sign that film production is rebounding in the world’s most prolific film hub after being crippled by financial and logistical disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which shuttered cinemas and film sets movies across the country. Traffic brakes have eased and cinemas have reopened in recent months, further bolstering the outlook for Indian studios.

The pandemic, which has forced people to consume more entertainment online, has also exposed India‘s estimated 1.4 billion people to varied geographies and niche genres on an unprecedented scale.

More advanced studios

This has fueled a race to secure content among streaming giants, benefiting smaller but more forward-thinking studios like Clean Slate Filmz which produced the action feature “NH10” in 2015, which starred the Ssharma’s Bollywood actor-sister, Anushka Sharma, and has taken on the practice of so-called honor killings. in India.

Netflix last month slashed its subscription costs in India by up to 60% as it sought to claw back market share from Amazon and Walt Disney Co., the country’s two dominant online entertainment platforms. . Last week, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings expressed frustration that the streaming giant hadn’t gained momentum in India, known for its very price-conscious consumers.

Competition between OTT giants has led to increased budgets, as has the willingness to experiment, according to Ssharma, whose studio is behind the acclaimed detective series “Paatal Lok” on Amazon Prime Video.

Clean Slate Filmz is now preparing to release on Netflix “Chakda’ Xpress”, a biopic where Anushka will play an Indian cricketer considered one of the greatest speed players in the world, as well as the thriller series “Mai” and the drama film “Qala”. .”

“What’s happened over a period of time is that ambition is also increasing within studio systems,” Ssharma said. “And that’s great for people like us.”

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