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“So what are you watching on Netflix?” This has become a conversation starter for bingers across the world, including in India, which says a lot about the growing influence of the streaming giant globally.
Apart from re-writing the rulebook for a successful business model, the streaming service is constantly revamping its content library, creating a ripple effect in the market. When Netflix came into existence in 1997, thanks to Reed Hastings and software executive Marc Randolph, the intention was to offer online movie rentals.
Today, it has spread its network in over 190 countries through over 150 million paid memberships. The Netflix strategy is to revisit immensely popular shows as they did with “Stranger Things”, “Queer Eye”, “Sacred Games”, “Narcos”, “The Crown”, “Glow”, “Mindhunters”, and “13 Reasons Why”.
Another strategy that is currently influencing most other home entertainment platforms is Netflix’s initiative to bring A-list star power like Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Ryan Reynolds into the original content that streams right into your homes.
They have successfully replicated the strategy in India, too. Netflix is now the playing field for many big-ticket Bollywood stars including Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anushka Sharma and Emraan Hashmi. While Saif and Nawazuddin return in “Sacred Games 2”, SRK produces the spy thriller series “Bard Of Blood” starring Emraan Hashmi, and Anushka Sharma produces the political drama “Mai”.
Netflix knows that in star-crazy India, even if the names of SRK and Anushka are attached as producers, it could trigger off a revenue haul worth a few crores more. “The thing about Netflix is that we don’t believe in being judgmental to the taste of any of our subscribers,” Srishti Behl Arya, director, International Originals, at Netflix India, told IANS.
“We want to make sure that whatever is their taste, viewers will find it at Netflix. That is what we have been doing across the globe, with series and films. We hope to bring that narrative to the local Indian market as well. Just like we are talk of global content here, they should be talking about Indian content,” she added.
This year, the streaming service is expected to spend $15 billion on content, and India is big on their radar. “We are seeing a nice, steady increase in engagement with Indian viewers that we think we can build on,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said on a call with analysts, adding: “Growth in India is a marathon. We’re in it for the long haul.” Essentially, Netflix is changing viewing habits in India, like the rest of the world, by providing unlimited original entertainment for every taste and viewership profile.
Upcoming content as diverse as “Bard of Blood”, “Baahubali: The Rise Of Sivagami”, “Bulbul”, “Midnight’s Children”, “Bombay Begums”, “Betaal”, “Messy”, “Masaba Masaba”, “Ghost Stories”, “Class of ’83” and “Mrs. Serial Killer” testify that fact. They have even unveiled a mobile subscription plan for India at a mere Rs 199 per month.
“We try to tell the best stories we can. There are so many streaming services, but if you think about how many networks there are on cable in India, there are way more than 34. I think there’s a lot of room to do different kinds of stories,” said Hastings. Let’s take a note that there is a growing market for other over-the-top or OTT platforms, too, like Amazon Prime, Hotstar, MX Player, Voot, Zee5, ALTBalaji or Sony Liv in India.
Netflix isn’t bothered about competition. “It’s going to be a very exciting and competitive market. I am very pleased with our performance there,” Hastings said at an event in March. The growing popularity of Netflix, in India particularly, has opened up options for content creators, too. Kirti Kulhari, who will be seen in “Bard of Blood”, feels they have widened the reach of content, which is a “big revolution”.
“Netflix is the first one to start doing this. The diversity (and) the complexity of the subjects that they deal with (are impressive). They are encouraging different countries to produce content locally with a very global universal appeal. They have created healthy competition. Everyone has upped the game,” Kirti told IANS. “Delhi Crime” star Rasika Duggal feels “the digital space is about pushing the boundaries and breaking formula and with each of their shows, and Netflix has stayed true to that”.
“Beecham House” actress Shriya Pilgaonkar added: “From an actor’s perspective, as well as from a viewer’s, Netflix has been at the forefront of showcasing diverse content across genres, which is encouraging for a lot of storytellers out there, and is giving a much-needed boost to original content.” It is clear that Netflix will continue breaking the norms, decoding the formula of success, eschewing the traditional ratings system and creating binge-worthy entertainment. So, Netflix and chill. (IANS)
Intel saw its stock tumbling by more than 8 percent after the chipmaker said the industry-wide component shortage affected its PC chip business during the third quarter (Q3). Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told CNBC late on Thursday that he didn't expect the semiconductor shortage to end until 2023. "We're in the worst of it now, every quarter, next year we'll get incrementally better, but they're not going to have supply-demand balance until 2023," Gelsinger was quoted as saying.
The company delivered its Q3 results with revenue up 5 percent (year-over-year) driven by strong demand in its DCG and IoTG businesses, despite the highly constrained industry-wide supply environment. "Q3 revenue was $18.1 billion slightly below our guide due to shipping and supply constraints that impacted our businesses," George S. Davis, Chief Financial Officer, said in a statement. He also announced plans to retire from Intel in May 2022. In the third quarter, the company generated $9.9 billion in cash from operations and paid dividends of $1.4 billion.
| Photo by Slejven Djurakovic on Unsplash
According to the company, the demand remains strong in its PC business with particular strength in commercial, desktop, and higher-end consumer notebooks. In an earnings call, Gelsinger said that the digitization of everything accelerated by the four superpowers of AI, pervasive connectivity, cloud to edge infrastructure, and ubiquitous compute are driving the sustained need for more semiconductors. "The market is expected to double to $1 trillion by 2030. In that timeframe, the market for leading-edge nodes will rise to be over 50 percent of the total, while the market for leading-edge foundry services will grow at twice the rate of the semi-industry overall," he envisioned.
PC demand remains very strong, and "We believe the 2021 TAM (total addressable market) will grow double digits even as ecosystem shortages constrain our customer's ability to ship finished systems," Gelsinger added. "Customers continue to choose Intel for their datacenter needs and our third-gen scalable Xeon processor Ice Lake has shipped over 1 million units since launching in April, and we expect to ship over 1 million units again in Q4 alone," he informed. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Intel, Chip, processor, Desktop, AI, Semiconductor, PC, Processor
Micro-blogging site Twitter has announced that its audio chatroom Spaces is now open to anyone who wants to host. The Spaces team in a tweet said that the users on both Android and iOS will now be able to host Spaces. "The time has arrived -- we're now rolling out the ability for everyone on iOS and Android to host a Space," the firm said in a tweet.
Earlier this year, the company had limited access to hosting Spaces to accounts with at least 600 followers, saying that it found these accounts would be more likely to have a good experience due to the existing audience. Twitter recently announced a new accelerator programme for creators on its audio conversation platform Spaces, to "discover and reward" around 150 creators with technical, financial and marketing support.
The 'Twitter Spaces Spark' programme is a three-month accelerator initiative. Those selected will get a stipend of $2,500 per month, $500 in monthly ad credits to spend promoting their Spaces on Twitter and early access to new Twitter features. They will also get support from Twitter's official social media handles, and "opportunities for prioritised in-app discoverability for well-performing Spaces".
Twitter has also announced plans to roll out paid Ticketed Spaces for iOS users where some hosts on its live audio feature can now sell access to Ticketed Spaces. Twitter had previously said that it will take a 3 per cent cut of creators' earnings from Ticketed Spaces. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: android, creators, ticketed, access, twitter, spaces
At least 10 regional powers have joined the new Taliban rulers in Afghanistan in their call to the United Nations to help the country bail itself from the feared economic collapse and a humanitarian catastrophe.
At a regional-level meeting in Moscow, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan sided with the Taliban delegation and called on the UN to convene a United Nations donor conference at the earliest to help rebuild the ear-torn Afghanistan.
"It should take place with the understanding that the main burden should be borne by the forces whose military contingents have been present in Afghanistan over the past 20 years," said a joint statement of the Moscow conference.
Voices of concern and criticism were also raised against the United States, which opted not to attend the talks citing 'technical reasons'. The US was criticised for invading Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 and after 20 years, opted to an chaotic withdrawal, which created easy inroads for the Taliban to take control of the country.
It was also highlighted that international aid is the need of the hour for Afghanistan as any instability in the country would have a spillover effect on the regional countries and could threaten regional stability.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has brought with it looming fears and memories of the '90s, when practices like public stoning, hardline setup and marginalisation of women were normal.
However, the Taliban, under the new government setup, have assured that rights of women will be guaranteed.
"Afghanistan will never allow its soil to be used as a base for anyone to threaten the security of another country," said Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
"Isolating Afghanistan is in no one's interest. The meeting is very important for the stability of the entire region," said Deputy Prime Minister in the Taliban setup, Abdul Salam Hanafi.
The regional powers, including Russia, have maintained that the Taliban are a new reality, calling on them to work towards the formation of an inclusive government with representation from all ethnic groups and political figures.
While the regional powers recognised the need for immediate aid and help for Afghanistan, they have declined to give official recognition to the Taliban government.
"Kremlin recognises Taliban's efforts to try and stabilise the situation in Afghanistan. A new administration is in power now. We note their efforts to stabilise the military and political situation and set up work of the state apparatus," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The Moscow conference holds great importance, as it is the most significant international meeting since the Taliban takeover.
However, the Taliban have been given a clear direction to first meet and fulfil the promises they made when they assumed power, which includes rights to women and an ethnically inclusive government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Afghanistan, Support, Taliban Government, United Nation