Amid intense competition from Amazon Prime Videos and other local players, Netflix announced a Rs 199 per month mobile-only plan in India to woo viewers.
The number of Indian Netflix subscribers accessing content on their phones is more than anywhere else in the world, Netflix Director Product Innovation Ajay Arora told reporters. He added that more people here sign up for Netflix on their mobile phones than in any other country.
“The mobile plan for Rs 199 a month is made for India. Users will have access to the same unlimited standard definition (SD), ad-free content under this plan,” he said, adding that this will help the company expand to smaller cities in the country. The company has tested similar mobile-only plans in few other markets, but as of now, it is being announced only in India, Arora said.
In India, Netflix has partners like Hathway, Bharti Airtel and ACT Fibernet to take its services to customers through these networks. Recently, during an investor call, Netflix said it believes that growth in India is a marathon and that the company is witnessing steady progress here. With the Rs 199 plan, Netflix hopes to further expand its business in a market where Pay TV average revenue per user (ARPU) is low (below $5).
The company has over 148 mn paid memberships in over 190 countries. It doesn’t disclose country-specific subscriber numbers. Netflix, which is witnessing sluggish growth in its home market, is betting on markets like India to drive growth. Online content consumption in India has seen massive growth, with data plans becoming more affordable. Data rates in India are among the cheapest globally.
While there is a growing trend of consuming on-demand content on TV, a large number of people watch content on smartphones. Netflix, which plays in the premium content streaming space, faces competition from Amazon Prime, Hotstar and YouTube, along with other local players in the Indian market. Amazon Prime Videos, Hotstar and Zee5 offer services at Rs 999 annually.