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Netflix reduces rates across plans by 18-60% in a bid to woo Bharat

In India, the mobile-only plan, earlier priced at  ₹199 per month, will now come for  ₹149. The basic plan that allows access to all content on any one device has been significantly reduced to  ₹199 versus  ₹499. (Photo: Bloomberg)Premium
In India, the mobile-only plan, earlier priced at 199 per month, will now come for 149. The basic plan that allows access to all content on any one device has been significantly reduced to 199 versus 499. (Photo: Bloomberg)

  • The move comes at a time when Netflix is preparing to generate more mass market content
  • The price revision also stems from the global traction that Indian titles have got in recent times

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NEW DELHI : American streaming service Netflix on Tuesday slashed rates across plans in India by 18-60%, as the company widely seen as a premium service in the country aims to reach more people.

Netflix’s mobile-only plan, earlier priced at 199 per month, will now cost 149. The basic plan that allows access to all content on any one device is priced at 199 versus 499 earlier. The standard plan that allows access across two devices now comes for 499 and the premium plan that works across four devices costs 649 compared with 799 earlier. All new plans will be effective from Tuesday.

The move comes at a time when Netflix is preparing to generate more mass market content in collaboration with established Bollywood directors.

Reducing prices will also pit it against rivals Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video that have, so far, led in terms of subscriber count. Research and consulting firm Media Partners Asia (MPA) had earlier predicted Disney+ Hotstar to close the year with 46 million subscribers, Prime Video at 21.8 million and Netflix at 5.5 million. MPA offers research, advisory and consulting services in media, telecom, sports and entertainment for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

“The new price plans are in line with our strategy to provide content that goes deeper into the country and aims to reach wider audiences," Monika Shergill, vice-president, content, Netflix India told Mint. The platform is introducing a diverse range of titles, Shergill said, both films and series, that are aimed at targeting masses, while already investing in dubbing and subtitling to transcend linguistic barriers.

The coming months will see local productions in collaboration with popular directors such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Heeramandi), Vishal Bhardwaj (Khufiya), Zoya Akhtar (an Archie Comics adaptation), Madhuri Dixit (Finding Anamika) and Kapil Sharma, besides second seasons of hits like She, Mismatched, Masaba Masaba, Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives and Jamtara-Sabka Number Ayega, all of which require wide distribution.

The move, Shergill said, also stems from the global traction that Indian titles have gained over the past few months and the higher number of users the platform has seen come on board during the past year-and-a-half of the pandemic.

“India is a big market with ample penetration opportunity in tier-two and tier-three towns, increasing smartphone users and cheaper data prices, which will help Netflix scale its subscriber base in the medium to long term," Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital Ltd said. The Reed Hastings-owned platform that was earlier targeting only niche audiences and even started bundling with telco services later, has clearly realized the potential of the market and strengthened its focus to reap benefits of a viewer base that will only become more willing to pay with time, he added.

“The US subscriber base has been plateauing and in non-US territories, Singapore and China are already well-penetrated while data in south Africa is not as cheap. So, they have to do things differently for India," Taurani said.

The move also augurs well given that India’s advertising and subscription-driven streaming markets that are skewed in an 80:20 ratio in favour of the former as of now, will see significant growth for the latter, over the next five to ten years.

The most meaningful reduction is the basic price plan which opens up the funnel for significant new customer growth, said Mihir Shah, vice-president and head of India, Media Partners Asia (MPA).

 

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