Netflix, the popular on-demand video streaming service, has announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that its services will now be available in India and over 130 other countries. The service went live in the new territories during a keynote by Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings at CES 2016. “Today, you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network,” said Hastings while adressing the audiences. In India, Netflix has already gone live with subscription rates starting Rs 500 per month and going up till Rs 800 per month for a premium service with access to Ultra HD content. The service remains unavailable in China and is not available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to US government restrictions. “Netflix was the first to allow binge watching and gave consumers control over entertainment. We have assisted consumers discover value added entertainment on demand,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said at the CES keynote address. Netflix: the game changer for India Being in line with taste of Indian audience, the version of the website available contains Bollywood titled as well as all Netflix original content, however, the number of Bollywood titled is limited to 100 right now. “We are working with content creators in India to add more Bollywood titles, and Indie local films. We are working on expanding licensing rights in India to create variety of content, across languages,” said Chitavan Pandya Patel, Director - Content acquisition for Netflix. Non-censored content Unlike regular Indian TV, Netflix is not yet censoring its content. Commenting on censorship, Chris Jaffe Product Lead for Netflix said, “Of course, we don’t wish to flout any local laws. But we plan to take this on a case by case basis. For now all the content is uncensored on Netflix. We also do have a rating system for our content and that’s clearly visible when you’re watching a movie or show. So we will warn a user if a content has strong language, violence etc.” This rating system has been developed in-house by the company based on global ratings. So far Netflix’s content has not been reviewed by the Censor Board and the company says it will observe the reaction to its service across India. Pricing While the payment options are now limited to credit cards and PayPal, Jaffe said they could add more options in the coming months. Netflix has continued with its global pricing strategy rather than offering a price cut for India, as is the norm. The company says that initially it plans to target those with broadband connections in India. What’s new? The service has also added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports. This year the firm plans to release 31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series.
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