Netflix’ $4 mobile-only subscriptions could bolster its growth in India

Netflix’ $4 mobile-only subscriptions could bolster its growth in India
Credit: Amrit Pal Singh / Dribbble

In a bid to grow its audience in India, Netflix is trialing cheaper subscriptions that allow access to its streaming video service only on mobile devices, reports The Economic Times.

The plan, which costs Rs. 250 ($3.65) a month, comes in at half the price of Netflix‘ cheapest standard plan for users in the country. That could make a lot of sense for the streaming giant, which brought its service to India in 2016, and was soon followed by Amazon’s Prime Video.

It’s keen to grow its audience by 100 million with viewers in the country, but it has plenty of work to do; at the end of 2017, IHS-Markit noted that the service had just over half a million subscribers in India.

The country has seen the number of smartphone users grow nationwide from 199 million in 2015 to 340 million at the end of 2018, according to eMarketer. It’s expected to double by 2022, says a report from Cisco. India also has the cheapest mobile data plans in the world, making this an ideal location to test subscriptions tailored for personal gadgets.

Many people across the country are coming online for the first time right now, and they’re doing so with personal mobile devices as opposed to desktops and laptops. With phones becoming cheaper and more capable over time, it makes sense to own one in lieu of a computer, and so it could well be the primary screen for millions of folks to stream video.

Plus, App Annie noted in its 2019 ‘The State of Mobile’ report that Netflix was the top grossing streaming video app in India for the previous year, beating out local players like Hotstar, BIGO Live, Live.me, and ALTBalaji.

In addition, Netflix has already begun offering content in local languages, including Bollywood blockbusters and movies from India‘s numerous other film industries. It’s also begun producing original shows and movies there, some of which is available to international viewers too.

Credit: Netflix / Facebook
A promo image for Netflix’ Sacred Games

It’s worth noting that Netflix has confirmed it’s testing this program in India – as it did in Malaysia and some other countries last year. “Not everyone will see these options and we may never roll out these specific plans beyond the tests,” the company added.

From what we can tell, if this model will work anywhere, it’s in India‘s fast-growing market, which is also experiencing a boom in digital services like instant money transfers, ecommerce, and streaming content channels. The move could also guide Netflix‘ strategy for other developing markets across the globe in the company’s plan for world domination.

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