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C21May iPad

Netflix unveils Asia content splurge

US-based streamer Netflix is attempting to extend its appeal across Asia by ordering 17 originals from the region, including an animé spin-off from the movie Pacific Rim and Chinese-language series.

Ted Sarandos

Original productions from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India and South Korea have all been unveiled as part of the streamer’s plans to increase its investment in content from Asia.

Shows include animé series Pacific Rim, which will expand upon the story of the first two live-action movies and follow an idealistic teenage boy and his naïve younger sister who attempt to find their parents.

Legendary Entertainment (Kong: Skull Island) produces, with Craig Kyle (Thor: Ragnarok) and Greg Johnson (X-Men: Evolution) attached as showrunners.

Netflix has also ordered Chinese-language drama Triad Princess, which is from Taiwan-based producers MM2 and Goodfilms Workshop. It follows a young woman who craves independence having grown up as part of a gangster family.

Thai-language originals include GMM Grammy and H2L Media Group’s The Stranded, about an 18-year-old who survives a devastating tsunami, and supernatural drama Shimmers, from directors Wisit Sasanatieng and Sittisiri Mongkolsiri.

Also on the slate is Altered Carbon, an animé movie from Asian animation studio Anima that is set in the same universe as the Netflix live-action sci-fi series, whose second season is being produced by Skydance Television.

Fellow animation Cagaster of an Insect Cage is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious disease turns people into giant, murderous insects and is being produced by Gonzo (Hellsing), while Japan-set war series Yasuke has been created and directed by LeSean Thomas (The Boondocks). Asian animator Mappa (Yuri On Ice) produces.

Elsewhere, Trese is from Singapore- and Indonesia-based producer BASE Entertainment and explores the adventures of a mythical creature in Philippine folklore that lives amongst humans. The show is based on the local graphic novel of the same name, which was created by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo.

The shows, unveiled at Netflix’s first content showcase in Asia, join series such as crime thriller Sacred Games in India, anime series Devilman Crybaby in Japan and Korean variety comedy Busted!.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said the fact that more than half of its Asian content was viewed outside of the region supported its belief that the shows would be popular globally.

“The beauty of Netflix is that we can take never-seen-before stories from South Korea, Thailand, Japan, India, Taiwan or elsewhere and easily connect them to people all over Asia and the world,” he added.

The US streamer, which also confirmed a second season of its drama Kingdom to debut in January, has made no secret of its ambition to grow across Asia, putting particular emphasis on securing more subscribers in India.

Netflix has also ordered a six-part Norwegian-language drama from writer Adam Price that is rooted in Norse mythology.

Ragnarok is being produced by Denmark-based SAM Productions and is described as “a modern day coming-of-age drama” set in a small fictional town in the middle of the Norwegian countryside.

Netflix’s latest content splurge comes on the back of a stellar set of results last month, which revealed that the House of Cards and BoJack Horseman streamer had more than 137 million subscribers around the world.

This followed disappointing results during the second quarter of the year, which had caused some analysts to question the SVoD giant’s growth trajectory. The streamer has been borrowing heavily over the past 12 months to fuel its content ambitions.

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