Netflix is trialling a low-cost mobile-only subscription plan in India to drive growth and bring its price closer to its SVoD competitors in a country were video consumption on mobile is high. The plan is being trialled with select users and costs Rs250 a month ($3.63). Although the new mobile-only plan is more expensive than plans provided by competitors (a basic monthly subscription to Hotstar costs Rs199 and Amazon Prime Video costs Rs129), it demonstrates Netflix’s desire to be more competitive in the region.
India has high smartphone usage and an emerging population of mobile Internet users. In Ampere’s Q1 2019 consumer tracking study, among Indian internet users, 57% indicated that they used their smartphone to watch video every day. This was only second to China (among the 20 markets surveyed) where 68% watch video daily on a smartphone. Indian Netflix users watch far more video than the average user; 64% watch daily.
As well as tapping into the country’s high smartphone video viewing, the plan could bring about opportunities for partnerships between Netflix and mobile operators. This is because the automatic mechanism to pay monthly for a digital service through traditional banking is something very few people in India have the means to do and operators can act as mediators between SVoD companies and consumers. One example is Netflix’s partnership with Vodafone in India which incorporates the service as part of a bundle. The mobile-only plan and such partnerships help the company embrace the local preference for smartphone payment services.