Netflix's Mobile-Only Plan for India Is Even Cheaper Than Expected
India is the only market in the world where the streaming giant offers such a plan — a bid to take on rivals like Amazon Prime and Disney's Hotstar.
Netflix on Wednesday launched its mobile-only plan for India at a price below expectations. The plan costs $2.90 (199 rupees) per month, less than the $3.63 suggested when Netflix was testing out the plan back in March. Details of the mobile-only plan were unveiled in New Delhi at a Netflix event.
The streaming giant had made it official last week during its earnings conference call that it would launch the plan in the third quarter.
"Our members in India watch more on their mobiles than members anywhere else in the world — and they love to download our shows and films," said Netflix director, product innovation, Ajay Arora. "We believe this new plan will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit people who like to watch on their smartphones and tablets — both on the go and at home."
When asked by THR if this plan would also become available in other countries, Arora said, "India is the first country anywhere in the world where we have launched a mobile-only plan."
The mobile-only plan is the fourth option in India from Netflix, which offers its basic service at $7.27 (500 rupees) going up to $11.5 (799 rupees) per month for its premium service.
Even with its reduced plan at $2.90 per month, Netflix is still expensive compared to Disney's Indian OTT service Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video. Both services are offered at an annual plan of $14.50 (1,000 rupees) or about $1.20 per month.
Netflix's response to a highly price-sensitive market like India comes in light of how Hotstar continues its blistering growth since the service launched in 2015. According to Media Partners Asia, 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 a recent report by consultants Ernst and Young India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Indians spend 30 percent of their phone time and over 70 percent of their mobile data on entertainment.
Meanwhile, Netflix continues to invest heavily in its local content offerings, which include 13 new films and nine new original series that are in the pipeline. One of its most awaited shows is the second season of Sacred Games, which was Netflix's first Indian original and will stream worldwide on Aug. 15.