Udayavni Special

Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-screen plans in India


Team Udayavani, Jul 18, 2019, 11:56 AM IST

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New Delhi: Video streaming company Netflix will roll out a cheaper mobile-only plan in India as it looks to woo viewers amid growing competition from Amazon Prime Videos and other local players.

The premium content platform also believes that growth in the Indian market is a marathon; and that it is witnessing steady progress here.

After several months of testing, the company has decided to roll out a lower-priced mobile-screen plan in India to complement existing plans, Netflix said in a statement.

“We believe this plan, which will launch in Q3, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business in a market where Pay TV average revenue per user (ARPU) is low (below USD 5),” it added.

Netflix had been testing a Rs 250 monthly subscription for mobile devices in India. Its current plans are available for Rs 500 onwards.

The company has over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. It doesn’t disclose country-specific subscriber numbers.

Online content consumption in India has seen massive growth with data plans becoming more affordable. Data rates in India are among the cheapest globally.

Netflix Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said the company sees an opportunity to broaden access to its service in India.

“So that is clearly the motivator behind adding this mobile tier offering… We think we need to have a lower price offering to improve the accessibility… one that complements the existing tiering structure that we have,” he said at the company’s investor call.

Peters said the company is also working on partnerships in the Indian market.

“We are also working on the partnerships we have in the market because we think there are specific opportunities to improve accessibility via those partnerships as well,” he said.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos referred growth in India as a “marathon”.

“We are in it for the long haul and we are seeing nice steady progress,” he said, adding that the company is also scaling up its library for the Indian market.

Netflix said its paid membership grew by 2.7 million in the second quarter, less than the 5.5 million in the year-ago period and its own forecast of 5 million for the June 2019 quarter.

In the third quarter, Netflix said it expects to grow by 7 million paid memberships (0.8 million in the US and 6.2 million internationally) compared to an addition of 6.1 million subscribers in the year-ago period.

While Netflix plays in the premium content streaming space, it competes with the likes of Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and even YouTube, along with other local players in the Indian market.

The competition in the video-on-demand space has intensified, especially after the launch of Reliance Jio’s services as data tariffs have come down drastically in the country.

Players like Yupp TV, Hungama and ALTBalaji are actively expanding their library with original programming to tap into the Indian market.

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