Netflix’s India content spends helping subscriptions, watch time growth, Technology News, ETtech


Netflix's India content spends helping subscriptions, watch time growth
Netflix‘s content investment in India is helping it grow subscriptions and watch time, chief content officer Ted Sarandos said during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday.

India has emerged as a key content hub for the streaming giant which has commissioned around 12 original series and about 22 original local language films in the country so far.

Earlier this week, Netflix had said that around 15 new original Indian films are expected to be available to its members across the world by the end of 2020.

That said, Netflix’s high subscription costs, which range between Rs 500-Rs 800 per month, currently limits its expansion in the country.

Netflix executives have acknowledged the need for a lower cost subscription tier to expand its user base in the country.

“We’re quite certain that we should do something to find a price tier that’s lower than the existing lowest price tier to broaden the accessibility. We think that they’ll be important to adding members in India” chief product officer Greg Peters said during the company’s earnings conference call.

In March, ET was the first to report that the Los Gatos, California-based company was testing a low-cost mobile-only subscription with select users in India. It is also trialing weekly subscriptions, ranging from Rs 65-Rs 200 per month, based on the video quality and the number of concurrent screens.

“We’re trying to do a bunch of experimentation with just our plan structure and thinking about pricing and plans and what do we do to test different models that allow us to bring a lower price plan with the right feature set at the right price. I think that’s (mobile-only subscription) a great example of something that we’re trying out, (but) we’re not positive that’s the right model” Peters said.

This development also comes in the backdrop of the company’s increasing reliance on international markets for its future growth. Netflix now has 148.9 million paid subscribers, of which 88.6 million come from International markets. These markets also accounted for nearly 82% of the company’s 9.6 million subscription additions during the first quarter of 2019.

In an earlier interview with ET, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings had said that India is a key part for international subscription growth and will likely account for a huge chunk of its subscriber base in the future.

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