Netflix rolls out cheaper, more affordable mobile-only plan in India amidst increased competition

Lili | July 24, 2019 | 0 | Mobile

Amid intense competition from Amazon Prime Videos and other local players, premium video streaming company Netflix on July 24 announced a Rs 199 per month mobile-only plan in India to woo viewers.

The video content platform, which had been testing the mobile-only plan for several months in India, has also restructured its three existing plans.

Indians spend 30 percent of their time on entertainment, consuming content on the go as well as at home. The number of Indian Netflix subscribers accessing content on their phones is more than anywhere else in the world, Netflix Director Product Innovation Ajay Arora told reporters. He added that more people here sign up for Netflix on their mobile phones than in any other country.

“The mobile plan for Rs 199 a month is made for India. Users will have access to the same unlimited standard definition (SD), ad-free content under this plan,” he said, adding that this will help the company expand to smaller cities in the country.

The company has tested similar mobile-only plans in few other markets, but as of now, it is being announced only in India, Arora said.

In India, Netflix has partners like Hathway, Bharti Airtel and ACT Fibernet to take its services to customers through these networks. Recently, during an investor call, Netflix had said it believes that growth in the Indian market is a marathon and that the company is witnessing steady progress here.

With the Rs 199 plan, Netflix hopes to further expand its business in a market where Pay TV average revenue per user (ARPU) is low (below USD 5).

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

Netflix, which is witnessing sluggish growth in its home market, is betting on markets like India to drive growth. Online content consumption in India has seen massive growth, with data plans becoming more affordable. Data rates in India are among the cheapest globally.

While there is a growing trend of consuming these on-demand content on television, a significant number of people watch content on smartphones.

Netflix, which plays in the premium content streaming space, faces competition from the likes of Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and even YouTube, along with other local players in the Indian market. Amazon Prime Videos, Hotstar and Zee5 offer services at Rs 999 annually.

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

Players like ALTBalaji as well as vernacular platforms like Hoichoi are also actively expanding their library with original programming in order to tap into the Indian market.

Netflix’s global 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 five 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.


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