Netflix has a new plan to win users in India: make its service incredibly cheap. The streaming giant today introduced a lower-priced mobile plan in the country that costs Rs 199 ($2.8) per month.
The announcement comes days after Netflix reported that it added 2.7 million new subscribers in the quarter that ended in June this year, far fewer than the 5.1 million figure it had projected earlier this year. At the time, it said it planned to introduce a lower-priced plan in India in Q3 this year.
Netflix started to test a lower-priced subscription plan in India and some other markets in Asia late last year. The plan restricts the usage of the service to one mobile device and offers only the standard definition viewing (~480p). It also supports viewing on tablets. Company executives said they currently have no plan to expand a similar plan to other markets just yet.
At a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Ajay Arora, Director of Product Innovation, said mobile devices are increasingly driving consumption in India. Netflix users in India are watching more content on mobile than users in any other country, he said. More users in India have also signed up through mobile in recent years compared to other nations, he added.
Jessica Lee, VP of Communications at Netflix, said the company introducing a lower-priced plan in India — at a time when Netflix has raised its subscription fares in the U.S. and UK — is not related to its declining subscriber base in the U.S.
Netflix competes with over three dozen streaming services in India. Hotstar, a streaming service owned by Disney, currently leads the market with over 300 million users. The ad-supported service offers about 80% of its catalog at no cost to users. Its yearly plan, which includes titles from HBO and Showtime, is priced at Rs 999 (14.5). Amazon Prime Video is priced similarly.
More to follow…