Netflix to air Philippine crime drama inspired by Duterte’s war on drugs

Posted on: March 23, 2018 | Business

The US-based streaming service will begin streaming its first Philippine TV series to global audiences in April

AMO will stream globally on Netflix from 9 April

Netflix has announced that it is partnering with local broadcaster TV5 to stream its first Philippine TV Series – part of a wider strategy to expand its international audience.

Entitled AMO, the TV series is set against the backdrop of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, and follows the life of Joseph, a high school student who becomes entangled in a web of government corruption and criminal violence, when he begins to sell methamphetamine, or shabu.

The TV series, which will stream globally on Netflix from 9 April, is directed by Brillante Mendoza, a celebrated Philippine cinematographer who filmed both of Duterte’s presidential state of the nation addresses.

“We’re always seeking to work with passionate, talented storytellers like Mr Mendoza, to bring premium content to the more than 117 million Netflix members around the world,” Netflix’s vice-president of Content Acquisition Robert Roy said in a statement.

“Amo is a bold and suspenseful show that has the potential of capturing thrill-seeking audiences worldwide.”

A focus on international markets has been key to Netflix’s significant growth in recent years.

In January, the US streaming giant announced a 41.6% year-on-year increase in its international subscriber base.

In the last quarter of 2017, it registered 55 million US subscribers and over 62 million international subscribers. 

According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Asia has been a key source of that growth.

“We’re seeing growth penetrations that look like the first couple of years of Latin America which as you know has worked out very well for the company,” he recently told Nasdaq.com.

“We therefore believe that in order to grow in the Asian market, which has very good prospects, the company needs to expand regional programming further.

The global video-on-demand sector is forecast to be worth $100bn by 2026, according to analytics company Ooyala.

However, in emerging markets, Netflix faces stiff competition from Malaysia-based streaming service iFlix, which focuses on local content and offers cheaper packages than its US counterpart.

​”We do not see Netflix as a competitor at all,” co-founder Patrick Grove told the Australian Financial Review last August.

“We are hyper local in content, price, language and distribution. Theirs is a great first world brand with English content at a first-world price. Our typical price is the exact same price as a pirated DVD, which is usually $2 per month. You can choose to buy a pirated DVD, or have 10,000 hours of great amazing content in your phone with us.”

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