Netflix eyeing more animated content in future to take on Disney+

The digital content consumption boom during lockdown due to COVID-19, continues to soar as OTT players put their best foot forward to be in this race. Streaming giant, Netflix too has upped its game internationally as well as in India, to offer its subscribers a vast, varied content library. 

It is expanding its content mix to be the one-stop-shop for its consumers especially during this pandemic, and has added 10.1 million (mn) paid subscribers in the second quarter (Q2) of 2020. The OTT platform expects to have 2.5 mn paid subscribers in the third quarter (Q3) in comparison to 6.8 mn in the prior-year quarter. 

Reed Hastings

The streaming powerhouse has been exploring different genres including animation, and has been investing in quality content created in that medium for a long time now. In the coming days too, Netflix has a good line-up of animated content to offer to its consumers. As Netflix co-founder, chairman and co-CEO Reed Hastings said in the Q2 earnings call, “Netflix has historically spent most of its money on content. A couple of years ago, we only had a premium TV. And now [we have] really good in movies, to be really good in unscripted, emerging in animation, very strong in local language shows and series, I mean it’s an incredible expansion that Ted [Sarandos] has pulled off over the last five years. So [we are going to do] more of that in the coming times at a higher scale and please more people.”

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, whom Hastings additionally named as the co-CEO in the earnings call, further added, that the platform aims to be the go-to destination for entertainment, and is not ignoring the area of programming that dominates broadcast. Hence, it has been dabbling in unscripted reality. In fact, he said that Netflix is eyeing more animated content and has been in talks with a number of creators/producers in the last one year, possibly to take on its rival Disney+ which boasts of a humongous library of classics as well as new-age animated titles.

Ted Sarandos

Netflix’s content mix has obviously changed quite a bit over the last few years with reality shows, original animation shows/movies and so on. A lot of franchises that are getting created in today’s world, are also inspired from animated shows/films, comic books or video games. Many such shows till date, on and off Netflix, have been hugely successful, for instance Marvel and DC films or animated series that rule box-office markets as well as streaming wars.

Hastings also revealed that Sarandos has “got big plans to spend future billions in our movies, in series, in animation. And so we’ve got lots of places to put the money, and we’re definitely focused on creating franchises.” The team is also working on making the streaming service better, more user-friendly aided with a smarter UI.

The animated series received high critical acclaim

Despite leading the streaming revolution, competition is going to be a tough one for the streaming colossal in the next 10 years with big players like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock already entering the market besides the existing ones.

Meanwhile, Netflix is expanding and exploring a distinct content pipeline for its one of the key markets, India, the largest growing OTT market. It aims to get its next 100 million subscribers from the country. This won’t be an easy job, as local rivals alongside Disney+Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video have a strong foothold, and Netflix’s comparatively higher pricing has been a drawback. Hence, it launched a Rs. 199/- mobile only plan in 2019 which was highly successful, and is now testing a Rs. 349/- plan for smartphone users which would allow them to stream content in HD unlike the aforementioned plan. 

Bombay Rose

Recently, Netflix announced 17 new local originals including an animated feature film, titled Bombay Rose, written and directed by Gitanjali Rao. As Netflix India original film director Aashis Singh shared with us in April 2020, the streaming platform is taking animation more seriously after the global success of Mighty Little Bheem. “We’re definitely interested and open for Indian animated content. We’re in talks with a few creators and soon will announce once things get mature,” he said.

In the coming months, Netflix has quite a number of animated releases that would be streaming on the platform.