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Bigger, better, bolder
ENJOYED Netflix this year?
There is more coming next year to keep you glued to your couch.
The video streaming giant is beefing up its original content and has 15 projects lined up for the Asia-Pacific, according to its vice-president of Original Series, Allie Goss.
Among them are Netflix's first Chinese language series Bardo and even stand-up specials from homegrown comedians.
The on-demand video service provider has had an outstanding year and reported its 109 million subscribers in over 190 countries watched more than 140 million hours of TV shows, movies, documentaries and more per day - or about one billion hours per week.
Mexico had the most members who watched Netflix every single day, and the average global viewer binged on 60 movies. One subscriber in Singapore even played Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted 194 times in 2017!
Netflix also discovered that Singaporeans liked racing through their shows with members here more likely to binge a TV series over three days - a rate that is faster than anywhere else in the world.
Though viewing is often done across three to five devices including smartphones, tablets and computers, more than 50 per cent of viewing hours came from connected televisions here in Singapore.
"People have always enjoyed watching TV and this won't change any time soon," said Chris Jaffe, vice-president of Product Innovation at Netflix.
"There is also a growing library of high-quality content available for streaming. We have endless hours of Ultra HD 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, more than half of our catalogue already supports 5.1 surround sound, and we have also just announced our support for Dolby Atmos 3D sound."
Just earlier this week, Netflix made HDR available for Windows 10, and the latest title to feature both HDR and Dolby Atmos is the Will Smith holiday blockbuster movie Bright which premieres on Friday.
Directed by David Ayer, who adapted Suicide Squad for the big screen last year, the mega-budget, action-packed thriller also stars Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace.
Set in an alternate present day, Bright finds two LAPD police officers (played by Smith and Edgerton) fighting off orcs and a powerhouse villain elf (Rapace).
The film will have a limited theatrical release, but with HDR and Dolby Atmos, the cinematic experience can easily be replicated in the comfort of ones living room (with a smart TV, of course).
But Goss said Netflix is not just fighting with multiplexes or other networks for viewers: "We are competing with anything outside of Netflix, be it going to the theatre, playing a video game or reading a book."
To think the concept of original programming only started five years ago when House Of Cards became the first show to be fully commissioned by Netflix.
Since then, it has also started picking up popular programs from specific territories and turning them into global hits.
Examples include Japanese reality series Terrace House and British sci-fi drama Black Mirror that now have huge followings all over the world where Netflix is available.
A new season of the former premiered in Japan earlier this week and is set to launch globally in next spring, while season four of the latter will start streaming from next Friday.
"There are specific tastes in different regions, but we are looking for the best storytellers. We find that when the content is done really well, it can transcend borders," said Goss, who cites the Spanish-heavy Narcos as a show that travels globally even though it's a very local story.
On what attracts talents to produce Netflix originals, she explained: "Content producers often only have access to a local audience but we have a huge global one.
"We also buy into the creators' vision and as a result, we are able to offer them the space and financial support to tell the stories that they are excited about. That sort of freedom is typically not given in the entertainment industry."