At ₹99/month, Apple’s OTT offering is a steal; but local content will be the key

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on September 12, 2019

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc, speaks about Apple tv+ during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, US.   -  Bloomberg

Apple has always been an aspirational brand for the Indian consumers but many found its devices unaffordable. That’s set to change with Apple TV+, an online streaming service for ₹99 a month available from November 1.

This makes the service one of the cheapest in the country, with original content and a celebrity lineup. Analysts said this may not be enough for Apple to make an impact in the Indian market that has over 35 OTT players.

“In India, global content has been well received both through Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, they have diversified their library to focus more on enabling local content. Apple on the other hand never localises the product and that could be a challenge for the success of Apple TV+ in India,” said Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst at techArc.

Amazon Prime subscription costs ₹129 a month or ₹999 for annual pack. Netflix, on the other hand, charges ₹800 a month for its premium pack with 4K streaming. So, Apple does finally get its pricing right for India but Apple TV+ could be a game changer for the iPhone maker if it gets its content right for the Indian market.

While there’s no word on Apple’s plans for original programming for India, Apple is already trying to tap this market with local tie ups. In March, Apple announced partnership with Eros Now to stream Indian movies on its platform that’ll give it access to a library consisting over 12,000 of Indian movies in different languages alongside music videos, web series, and short films.

“India will be a very different ball game for Apple. If you look at other global players like Netflix and Amazon Prime, all of them had to come up with original content for the Indian market to see any traction. Apple has to work on a localised strategy if it wants to compete with Netflix and others in India,” said Hanish Bhatia, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Apple in India has a base of 11 million active iPhone users.

“Even if 1 per cent of that base signs up for Apple TV, they’ll have 1 lakh users in India right from the start. That’s about ₹130 crore a year. Apple revenue in India is currently ₹13,000 crore. That’s easily 1 per cent of their India revenue,” said Kawoosa.

Published on September 11, 2019

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