After months of speculation and anticipation, Netflix had finally launched a cheaper subscription plan for Indian users. In what will be a first for the video streaming giant, the new plan will cost ₹199 per month (roughly $3) and will support only SD (Standard Definition) streaming on a single mobile device or a tablet.
This plan is Netflix’s fourth addition to the existing three subscription plans in India. The existing three plans are – basic, standard and premium. The basic plan (at ₹499month) offers core features like streaming on a laptop, computers as well as TVs at a standard resolution. The Standard plan (at ₹649/month) supports HD streaming while the Premium plan (at ₹799/month) offers Ultra HD streaming in addition to the core features.
The introduction of this new tier comes after Netflix’s recent announcement of the company’s Q2 earnings. Netflix reported it has only 2.7 million paid global customers, almost half of the subscribers it was forecasted to have. After this report, the company has experienced a drop in its shares in the past few weeks.
According to a FICCI-EY 2019 report, Indians spend over 70% of their mobile data on entertainment. That’s why the company is introducing a cheaper option for mobile users to amass more subscribers in India.
“Our members in India watch more on their mobiles than members anywhere else in the world- and they love to download our shows and films,” Ajay Arora, Director, Product Innovation, Netflix said in a press release. “We believe this new plan will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit people who like to watch on their smartphones and tablets—both on the go and at home.”
This new tier will surely give Netflix some advantage over its rivals in India, namely, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar. Amazon offers a similar plan which bundles it’s Prime Video streaming within its Prime membership at ₹999/year (which also includes music streaming and free deliveries o orders). Whereas, Disney-owned Hotstar offers its ad-free premium option costs ₹999/year. But unlike Amazon and Netflix, Hotstar also offers an ad-supported free version that offers 80% of its content.
Netflix, which has 2 million users in India, is heavily investing in Indian films and series after it recorded some blockbuster Indian hits in the likes of Sacred Games, Ghoul, Chopsticks, and Mighty Little Bheem. Netflix said that 13 new Indian films and 9 new original series are already in development. These include an animated prequel to the Bahubali films and a film based on Salman Rushdie’s bestselling book Midnight’s Children.