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Netflix pilots a new ₹250 (~$4), smartphone-only plan in India

Netflix

Despite rolling out multiple original series — a few of them really successful ones as well — and signing up with multiple original content creators, Netflix has failed to gain much traction in the price sensitive Indian market. As a result, the company is now running a ₹250 pilot to change that narrative.

While local rivals like Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLIV among others provide plans starting from as low as ₹99, Netflix carried its international pricing to the India. Despite free trials being offered, Netflix’s pricing was always on the upper side, a crucial metric for an extremely price sensitive market like India. Having realised the same after its current run in the subcontinent, Netflix is now piloting a substantially cheaper ₹250 ‘smartphone-only’ plan for the Indian market.

Netflix’s test plan at 250 rupees a month gives users access to standard definition video on smartphones and tablets, a company spokesman said. “We will be testing different options in select countries where members can, for example, watch Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and subscribe in shorter increments of time,” he added.

The pilot is a stark contrast to statements made by company CEO Reed Hastings last year. Hastings had mentioned in one of his interviews that there are no plans of reducing pricing in India.

Netflix’s focus on a smartphone only strategy is pretty straight. India is the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, and continued to grow at a rapid pace. HD screen smartphones available for less than $100 apiece, coupled with virtually free access to high-speed mobile data, has catapulted India into one of the world’s largest video consumption markets, in smartphones. Netflix aims to capitalise on just that.

The company emphasized on Tuesday that the new plan is a test and the company might not roll out these specific plans beyond the tests.