14/10/2021   Zuzana Henkova
India: Commissions of international formats double

The number of international formats commissioned for the Indian market has doubled each successive quarter through 2021. Most stem from local streaming services, but in August 2021 both Amazon Prime Video and Netflix commissioned their own local versions of successful international franchises in India. 

In Amazon’s case this was LOL - Enga Siri Paappom, a Tamil version of its original Unscripted game show LOL: Last One Laughing, originally adapted from the Japanese format, and the second version of the series in India so far. Netflix, meanwhile, following its commissioning of an expansive slate of original Indian content earlier in March 2021, has announced a local Hindi remake of the 2015 Scripted Comedy series format Call My Agent. France Télévisions has previously licenced the format for other international versions with Star TV in Turkey and Amazon in the UK. 

Netflix and Amazon, however, only contributed two out of the 11 international format commissions in India in Q3 2021. In July 2021, ITV Studios commissioned a Hindi version of its quiz game show The Big Picture for Viacom 18’s Colors TV, while local streaming giant Zee commissioned a Tamil version of the Reality show Survivor in the same month. In August 2021 Sun TV followed with the commissioning of four upcoming versions of the Masterchef cooking competition series, one for each of the Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Tamil languages. Discovery then followed suit with an Indian version of its original wedding-themed reality series Say Yes to The Dress

By commissioning formats that have had success elsewhere, Netflix and Amazon continue their efforts to attract new subscribers in India. But this has proved challenging for both companies in a market dominated by locally-backed subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) players such as ALTBalaji, Disney+ Hotstar and Eros Now. As a result, despite their continued investment in local content, Amazon and Netflix remain in 6th and 8th positions respectively in terms of subscribers in the Indian market.

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