Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan in India

July 18, 2019 - 8:32 AM
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The Netflix logo is seen on the company's office in Hollywood, Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo)

Netflix Inc said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India, tapping into a price-sensitive market where data consumption on smartphones is surging.

The video streaming pioneer said in March that it was testing a 250 rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.

“We believe this plan … will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business in a market where Pay TV ARPU is low,” the company said.

Netflix‘s new plan is aimed at battling cheaper offerings from rivals such as Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.

Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees and 800 rupees.

In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and streams live sports, charges 299 rupees per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.

Netflix‘s announcement was part of its quarterly results, in which it reported lower-than-expected subscriber additions.

India figures prominently in Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans. The company is investing heavily in creating blockbuster shows such as crime thriller “Sacred Games” and “Delhi Crime” with A-list Bollywood actors.

The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.

“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.

($1 = 68.8296 Indian rupees)—Reporting by Munsif Vengattil, Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru and Arriana Mclymore in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva