Netflix steps up original Asian content to hook international viewers

Netflix scored a hit in India with Mumbai-based crime thriller Sacred Games. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Netflix steps up original Asian content to hook international viewers

  • ‘More than half of Asian content hours viewed on Netflix this year are viewed outside the region’
  • The new titles build on Netflix’s recent forays into Asian productions

SINGAPORE: Netflix unveiled a plan on Thursday to make 17 more original productions in Asia including Thai and Chinese language shows, as the US firm seeks to attract new international users through more local content.
The plan, which includes nine productions in India and five anime series, should help ease concern that the video streaming pioneer is running out of space to expand in developed markets.
Netflix reported bumper quarterly earnings last month as it exceeded forecasts in both the US and international markets, with the bulk of new subscribers coming from outside the United States where the company has been investing aggressively.
“More than half of Asian content hours viewed on Netflix this year are viewed outside the region,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said when unveiling the plan at the firm’s content showcase event in Singapore.
“So, we have confidence that our upcoming slate of Asian productions will find fans in their home countries and abroad.”
Netflix has earmarked $8 billion for content this year, and had spent $6.9 billion as at the end of its third quarter.
On Thursday, the company said the new productions will include anime series such as Trese, based on a Philippine graphic novel of the same name, and Pacific Rim, an adventure story about two siblings searching for their missing parents.
Netflix will make two Thai language originals including Shimmers, a drama series about five teenagers at an isolated school in northern Thailand. It will also broadcast Triad Princess, a Chinese-language original from Taiwan in which the protagonist seeks independence in defiance of her Triad father.
The new titles build on Netflix’s recent forays into Asian productions, including India’s Sacred Games, Japanese anime series DEVILMAN crybaby, and variety comedy BUSTED! in South Korea.
In Asia, led by India, Netflix has won fans among a young, tech-savvy middle class. Chief Executive Reed Hastings has said India could deliver the service’s next 100 million subscribers.
The company will announce details of nine projects from the country on Friday.
Netflix scored a hit in India with Mumbai-based crime thriller Sacred Games. However, the Bollywood studio that produced the show disbanded last month after sexual harassment allegations against one of its partners, Vikas Bahl, and the show’s lead writer, Varun Grover. Both men have denied the allegations.
Netflix later backed the series for a second season.
The firm had 137 million subscribers to its movie and TV streaming service worldwide as of September-end. It began releasing original English-language programming nearly six years ago and has since expanded into other languages.


Judge to announce ruling in CNN reporter’s credential case

Updated 16 November 2018
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Judge to announce ruling in CNN reporter’s credential case

  • US District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, has set a hearing for Friday morning to announce his decision
  • Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office
WASHINGTON: A judge is expected to announce Friday whether he will order the Trump administration to return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
US District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, has set a hearing for Friday morning to announce his decision.
CNN has asked the judge for an order that would force the White House to immediately hand back the credentials that give Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, access to the White House complex for press briefings and other events. CNN wants Acosta’s credentials restored while a lawsuit over his credentials’ revocation goes forward.
The White House revoked Acosta’s credentials after he and Trump tangled during a press conference last week.
Trump has made his dislike of CNN clear since before he took office and continuing into his presidency. He has described the network as “fake news” both on Twitter and in public comments.
At last week’s press conference, which followed the midterm elections, Trump was taking questions from reporters and called on Acosta, who asked about Trump’s statements about a caravan of migrants making its way to the US-Mexico border. After a terse exchange, Trump told Acosta, “That’s enough,” several times while calling on another reporter.
Acosta attempted to ask another question about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and initially declined to give up a hand-held microphone to a White House intern. Trump responded to Acosta by saying he wasn’t concerned about the investigation, calling it a “hoax,” and then criticized Acosta, calling him a “rude, terrible person.”
The White House pulled Acosta’s credentials hours later.
The White House’s explanations for why it seized Acosta’s credentials have shifted over the last week.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.
But that rationale disappeared after witnesses backed Acosta’s account that he was just trying to keep the microphone, and Sanders distributed a doctored video that made it appear Acosta was more aggressive than he actually was. On Tuesday, Sanders accused Acosta of being unprofessional by trying to dominate the questioning at the news conference.