Netflix launches mobile-only plan at ₹199/month

Mirza Mohammed Ali Khan New Delhi | Updated on July 24, 2019

File photo   -  Bloomberg

Streaming to be in SD format, with no casting facility

 Over-the-top (OTT) content provider Netflix on Wednesday launched a new mobile plan exclusively for the price- conscious Indian market at a subscription fee of ₹199 per month.

Users opting for this plan will be able to stream all content from Netflix without advertisements on one smartphone or tablet at a time. The content will be available in standard definition (SD).

With this new pricing plan, Netflix has taken the fight to the competition such as Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, and Sony LIV, which already offer monthly plans in India in a similar price range. According to Netflix, the plan is offered in SD keeping in mind the constraints around wireless networks and speeds in the country.

Dowload option available

Users can download content, but this plan does not allow the option of casting to another device like a television via Chromecast.

Like Netflix’s other plans for India, the mobile-only plan will also offer a month-long free trial for new users. Users need to download the Netflix app on their mobile device and can sign up for the plan.

The company claimed that its Indian users watch more content on their mobile phones than anywhere else in the world. With a lot of first-time smartphone users having basic entry-level smartphones, Netflix has also optimised its app to serve such users.

Re-designed interface

“Number one, we redesigned sign-up flow, from the ground-up. The next area was around the innovations on the user interface. If the device is memory-constrained, we don’t have to give super-high resolution cover art. Maybe we can just give a small version to save memory,” Ajay Arora, Director, Product Innovation at Netflix, told BusinessLine.

Analysts are optimistic about Netflix’s growth prospects after the introduction of the latest plan. “₹200 is a good price-point and the leading platform, Hotstar, has already set this benchmark. I think the market has matured enough that consumers are now ready to pay for (online) content. We are very bullish on Netflix given this price-point,” Hanish Bhatia, Senior Analyst, Counterpoint Research, told BusinessLine.

However, Bhatia said that Netflix’s goal of adding 100 million subscribers in India is still a long shot. “Last year, we estimate Netflix was around 1.5 million subscribers. In 2019, we estimate a 3x growth in terms of subscription,” Bhatia said. But he also said that in the wake of this new plan, the growth of Netflix in India could accelerate.

According to Bhatia, there are an estimated 250 million consumers who watch online content but only 18 million to 20 million pay for that.



Published on July 24, 2019

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