Netflix to stream affordable plans to take on competition

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on July 18, 2019 Published on July 18, 2019

Video-streaming platform to roll out mobile-only plan in July-Sept quarter

Video-streaming platform Netflix is finally realising the importance of special pricing for the Indian market after remaining the most expensive streaming service in the country since launch.

During an analyst call on Wednesday, Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said the company is looking at plans that would be cheaper than its existing ₹500 a month scheme to grow its subscriber base in India.

“We think we need to have a lower priced offering to improve the accessibility, one that complements the existing structure that we have. So that’s the primary motivator... we can broaden the audience, they can love the content, enjoy the content and that’s great because like when we launch Sacred Games Season 2, we will have a bigger audience. So, what that means [is that], we can create more social buzz and more excitement about that show,” Peters said.

Lower price point

Peters also indicated that the company will be competing with existing OTT players in terms of pricing that could be below ₹350 a month.

“We think that there is an opportunity to be able to broaden the access to the service so that more people can enjoy that increasingly relevant content offering. So that’s a clear motivator behind adding this mobile-tier offering, which we think is going to be a lower price point and in a market where the typical pay TV package is under $5,” he said.

Peters did not provide a timeline for the launch of the mobile-only plan, but in a response to BusinessLine query, a Netflix spokesperson said the new plan will be launched in India in the July-September quarter itself, which is the third quarter for Netflix.

“The mobile plan will be launched in India in Q3. We will share more details soon,” Netflix said.

Netflix has been testing a mobile-only plan for the Indian market at ₹250 a month and the latest statement from the company indicates its seriousness to compete with rivals such as Amazon Prime and Hotstar among 30 others, each of whom are investing heavily on building original content and new distribution channels to expand reach.

While most OTTs in the country offer their service at around ₹150-200 per month, Netflix non-HD basic subscription pack costs ₹500 a month and HD plan ₹650.

Netflix is trying to position itself as a niche player in the OTT space in India with big budget shows and movies being made in partnership with some of the biggest production houses in the country.

“We announced five new originals for India. The one we’re also really excited about later on this year is Baahubali, which is our first step into a really large-scale Indian original film. It’s based on a film that was hugely popular a year ago and this is a series prequel, sequel model. That way, things are going to be incredibly popular in India and we’ve been seeing nice, steady increases and engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep billing on,” Ted Sarandos -- Chief Content Officer, said.

India is the best big frontier for Netflix which saw domestic subscriptions in the US fall by 100,000. The company was expected to gain over 300,000 subscribers.

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Published on July 18, 2019
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