Last year, Netflix introduced a mobile-only plan in India, in an effort to increase the number of subscribers for the region by reaching customers who could not afford to pay for a full-fledged streaming plan. Shortly thereafter, we discovered that Netflix was running a similar plan in Malaysia, a step that confirmed that the mobile-only plan was useful for some markets and that other countries in the region could get the same subscription options as India. Good news: it appears that Netflix wants to bring the mobile-only subscription to more markets in the future.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently spoke about the strategy for India at a conference in Dehli, where he revealed that Netflix plans to release more than $ 400 million in local content between 2019 and the end of 2020. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hastings that Netflix’s increasing interest in increasing the availability of its mobile-only plan:
If we have great content from all over the world, people are willing to pay for it. … In the US, cable TV costs around $ 75. Here [in India] it’s $ 3- $ 5. In the US, people pay $ 50 for cell phone access. The price here is very low and the market is very large. That is why our 199 rupees per month [mobile only] prices are very competitive.
Hastings did not say what other countries could get the coveted mobile-only subscription option in the near future, but his comments suggest that developing countries like India may be the first to receive it. Netflix could still look at ways to offer cheaper plans in other markets, especially given the recent launches of Apple TV + and Disney +.
Apple TV + costs $ 5 a month, but anyone who buys new Apple hardware gets a year for free. That’s a great free trial version that makes up for the thin catalog with original content from Apple. Disney + now has a much richer catalog and it is incredibly affordable for $ 7 or less per month – Disney + still has to roll it out in most international markets.
More interesting for Western markets would be another Netflix subscription test that was recently launched in India. Users can save up to 50% on their subscription if they pay Netflix simultaneously for an entire year. That is currently only a test and it is unclear whether Netflix intends to offer broader annual subscriptions in India or anywhere else.
THR says the plan for mobile-only reception has been better than expected, allowing Netflix to increase its subscriber base in the region. Mihir Shah, Vice President Media Partners Asia for India, estimated that Netflix would close 2019 with 2 million paying subscribers and that more than 50% would only have mobile subscriptions. Yet there is enough room for Netflix to grow in India and other Asian countries in the coming years.
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