Netflix gears up for India launch, pricing strategy may hold the key
The Hindu Business Line, which reported the development first by quoting unnamed sources, said that Netflix may announce its India launch at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas later this week.
For its India foray, Netflix is expected to join hands with either Bharti Airtel or Reliance Jio so that the company can ride on the telcos' 4G telephony infrastructure.
Queries sent by Techcircle.in to Netflix, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio went unanswered till the time of filing this news report.
Netflix is said to have commissioned 'Bollywood-themed' original content for its India launch. Netflix has a stated gloal of becoming a near global player by 2016-end.
The Indian Challenge
Unlike the United States, where millions of users pay for streaming services from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, Indian users prefer to view free videos. However, India is a market that cannot be ignored by any video streaming service provider. According to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of Indian internet users is set to grow to 462 million by July 2016.
A recent report by consultancy firm Deloitte suggested that Indian users' monthly spending on digital media (especially entertainment) will grow by 2.5 times over the next four years. Industry watchers hope that Netflix may stimulate the entire market for streaming services.
In fact, Netflix would compete with the likes of Hotstar, Sony Liv, Ditto TV, Hungama, Vuclip, Eros Now, Spuul, besides, YuppTV, NexGTv and HOOQ besides others. Balaji Telefilms, Viacom18 and Ronnie Screwvala's UDigital are also expected to launch their over the top or OTT platforms for video streaming this year.
Several of these platforms provide a mix of free and paid content while Netflix is a subscription-based interface. Its pricing strategy for Indian subscribers would be closely watched. In the US, Netflix offers access to HD movies and TV shows for a starting price of $8.99 per month (about Rs 600).
Netflix also produces original content. With 69 million subscribers in 60 markets, Netflix is the world's largest Internet TV and movie watching service.
Warner Bros and Sony Pictures compete with 21st Century Fox, the media house controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also controls News Corp, the parent of this news website.