Variety

Netflix in talks to source content from Reliance affiliate Viacom18

Reuters New Delhi | Updated on June 12, 2020 Published on June 12, 2020

US video streaming company Netflix is in talks with Viacom18, part of the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries' media unit Network18, about a multi-year partnership to source content, three sources told Reuters, in a move that would expand a relationship between the two sides.

Under the partnership, Network18 affiliates — which include its joint venture with ViacomCBS, Viacom18 — would create shows for Netflix to help the US firm expand offerings in India, where it competes against the video streaming services of Amazon.com Inc and Walt Disney Co.

A Netflix spokesman in India denied the company was in talks with Network18 or Viacom18, but did not elaborate. A spokeswoman for Viacom18 declined to comment on whether any talks were under way.

The financial terms of any potential partnership were not immediately clear and negotiations are still in the early stages, the sources said, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private.

While the new shows will be used only by Netflix, that does not mean Network18 and its affiliates will stop creating shows for other platforms, said two of the three sources.

Viacom18 licences content to several platforms, including Amazon. In 2019, its digital unit partnered with Netflix for three Hindi-language shows, but two of the sources said the current discussions were about a much bigger tie-up over several years. “This is a bigger version of the 2019 deal in essence,” said the first source.

The second source described the ongoing discussions as one of Netflix's “biggest moves to create local content in India.”

“The scale of Netflix's ambition and aspiration in India is quite high,” said the source, adding that the deal could involve at least 10 shows, mainly in Hindi.

Network18 Media & Investments is controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani through subsidiaries of his oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries.

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Published on June 12, 2020
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