Netflix Testing Mobile-Only Plan for India and "Select Countries"

Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Mumbai

The reduced price is half of Netflix's basic subscription plan but it is still expensive compared with rivals Amazon and Fox's Indian service Hotstar.

In a bid to offer competitive pricing to take on rivals Amazon and Fox's Hotstar, among others, Netflix is testing a mobile-only subscription plan in India. Priced at $3.63 (250 rupees) per month, the mobile-only plan is half of what Netflix's basic plan costs at $7.27 (500 rupees).

But even with the reduced price, Netflix is still expensive compared with its rivals in India. Amazon offers an annual subscription at $14.5 (1,000 rupees) per month or about $1.2 per month, which is the same charged by Hotstar for its premium service. Hotstar also offers a reduced VIP service for $5.29 (365 rupees) per year.

However, Netflix is yet to officially roll out the mobile-only plan as it is still being tested. A Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement that "we will be testing different options in select countries, where members can, for example, watch Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and subscribe in shorter increments of time.”

The statement also added that "not everyone will see these options, and we may never roll out these specific plans beyond the tests."

Netflix first tested a mobile-only plan in Malaysia and other unnamed territories last November but an official rollout is still anticipated.

As India's digital market booms driven by cheaper data plans pioneered by telecom giant Reliance Jio, mobiles are driving India's demand for video consumption. According to Media Partners Asia, mobiles constitute 88 percent of devices used to consume video.

India's online video audience reached 225 million in 2018, a figure that consultants KPMG India projects will double over the next five years to 550 million — a user base 67 percent larger than the entire population of the United States (where the number of online video users stands at 227.5 million).
In addition, the percentage of India's 1.3 billion population connected to high-speed Internet by phone surged from 24 percent in 2017 to 36 percent in 2018 — and it is expected to climb to 58 percent by 2023, according to Media Partners Asia.

Since its launch in February 2015, Hotstar has grown to become the second-biggest video service in India by revenue, with a 23 percent market share, trailing only YouTube but decisively topping Netflix's 14 percent slice of the market and Amazon's 6 percent, according to MPA estimates.