Even though data consumption is growing geometrically, the price-sensitivity of the Indian market remains a challenge for all streaming services. Considering the high growth markets are the sternly price-sensitive Tier 3 and 4 markets, Netflix, which is looking to acquire 100 million subscribers from India in the near future, is testing a Rs 250-per-month pilot for India, reports Reuters. This would be a straight 50% drop in its current lowest price of Rs 500 per month, and should get Netflix started along its mission of acquiring its next 100 million subscribers from India.
However, even at Rs 250 a month, and only for SD content on tablets and mobiles, this is still the most expensive offering. Having said that, the aspirational value of a Netflix connection in the smaller markets and the great respect for Netflix content should help it make inroads into the fast growing content streaming platform subscriptions.
While all other platforms also have free services, and therefore a far bigger chasm between signed-up and active users, Netflix has a constantly active user base that, after the first free month, is either paying or has exit.
It will be recalled that India’s biggest streaming service by a large margin, Hotstar, too recently introduced its VIP offering at Re. 1 a day or Rs 365 a year for all its content including sports and barring the international TV shows and uncut Hollywood movies. This has made it the cheapest subscription offering amongst digital content platforms in India, and coming as it has done on the eve of that mega tentpole, the VIVO IPL 2019, it would have put subscriptions on steroids. Remember, the IPL is such a great magnet, last year, Hotstar shattered the world record for streaming with more than 10 million concurrent viewers.
Amazon Prime too has some good content, though not like the Netflix library that’s splitting at the seams. But it also offers free music, and, of course, free and accelerated shipping of orders bought on parent Amazon’s online shopping portal. At Rs 999 a year, subscribers make good the payment across an average of 10 orders placed on Amazon.in.
A word of caution, though: Reuters reports that the new pilot scheme of Rs 250 a month from Netflix is a test and going forward, may not be rolled out at all. Having said that, the opportunity in India is massive: Over the next four years, there will be 829 million smartphone users in India, according to Cisco’s 13th annual Visual Networking Index (VNI). While until 2017 only 27% of Indians were using smartphones, by 2022, that will rise to 60% of the population.
Cisco had said during the release of the report late last year that estimates are that by 2022, internet networks in India will carry 1 million gigabytes of data every day. That, across the 5 years till 2022,would represent a whopping 490% growth. Also, overall, totally, connected devices would number around 2.2 billion in 2022 — a growth of 0.6 billion over the 1.6 billion of 2017.