Introduction: Netflix & Netflix India
The fact that ‘Netflix and chill‘ – is a spontaneous reply to the informal ‘What’s up?’ is hard to ignore. ‘Binge-watch’ is also something that has caught pace. Netflix has revolutionized the way people are consuming content every single day. Although it wasn’t always this fancy. Netflix came into existence in 1997, and it took almost two decades for Netflix Inc. to carve a niche for itself.
Netflix’s Chief Executive Officer, Reed Hastings, in an interview, said that its greatest rival right now is ‘sleep!’ And rightly so. Netflix has a phenomenal collection of movies, television series, documentaries. That is what keeps its 137 million customers and counting, worldwide, glued to its platform across phones, tablets, P.C.s, or televisions. So if you had a hard day at work or maybe are feeling low, worry not because Netflix has you covered. Grab your bucket of popcorn and binge-watch your favorite season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. perhaps.
Some of the highest watched Netflix shows include:
- Stranger Things
- House of Cards
- Orange is the new Black
Each of these shows garnered an average of two million views in their first week of release. And those are just the viewership numbers from the U.S. If you think that’s crazy, then Mr. Hastings would gracefully tell you that it’s just the beginning.
The entry of Netflix into India
Netflix announced its entry into India in 2016 amidst much fanfare in Las Vegas. Netflix India received a heart-warming welcome. If Netflix wanted to be the future of on-demand video entertainment services, it had to enter into India.
- Netflix in the United States was already experiencing a slowdown.
- India was still an untapped market with enormous potential. Broadband prices were coming down rapidly, all thanks to Reliance Jio, and the number of internet users was expanding exponentially.
- Entertainment platforms such as Youtube had a massive global presence, including India. So did Amazon Prime. To take on these rivals, Netflix India had to come into existence.
- A KPMG-Eros report entitled “Unraveling The Digital Video Consumer,” states that the online viewership in India is 300 million and that this number might reach 550 million by the end of 2023.
Initial days for Netflix India
Netflix India received a grand welcome. However, some sections of people felt that Netflix India would be a failure. Primarily due to:
- Subscription packages
Some people debated that the pricing model that exists in developed economies like the U.S. won’t work in India. And that it would be a costly affair.
- Bandwidth shortage
The Reliance Jio unlimited and cheap internet revolution was yet to begin. Data was pretty expensive at Rs. 250 per GB. Watching a one hour video on Netflix at High Definition would consume around 3 GB. And this was a problem.
Another issue was the lack of high-speed internet. Netflix recommends a stable 4 MBPS connection, which was not prevalent in India at the time.
However, as time would reveal, Netflix India would turn all odds in its favor and be a huge success.
Netflix India subscription plans
Netflix subscription comes with a free trial of one month. Once the trial period ends, there are four different options to choose from:
- The only mobile plan: This plan was offered exclusively for the Indian markets. At Rs. 199 per month, this plan was a deal setter.
- The Basic plan: This plan allowed its subscribers to watch all content in standard definition. This plan was priced at five hundred rupees a month.
- The Standard plan: Priced at Rs. 650 a month, this plan allowed the same content to be streamed in High-definition and two devices simultaneously.
- The Premium plan: This plan offers an ultra-high-definition service which could be watched across four devices at a time. This plan came at Rs. 800 a month.
Here’s how Netflix India won the Indian market
Netflix managed to win over the Indian hearts as well as the Indian markets. It applied a multi-pronged approach to attain this incredible feat:
- The decision to not bring down its subscription prices to cater to the Indian demands was a step in the right direction. It enabled Netflix India to keep its profit margins intact.
- Secondly, introducing a mobile-only cheaper plan made it dearer to the skeptical Indian spender. This plan meant they could try out for a whole free month, and then again try out for another month for just two hundred bucks.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it was Netflix India’s top-notch and desi content that won over Indian hearts and, thereby, the Indian market. The decision to cast famous Indian Bollywood stars such as Radhika Apte in back to back Netflix original series’ kept the audience tuned. People now wanted more. And Netflix is in no mood to disappoint!
Netflix India current offerings:
- Sacred Games starred Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte.
- Lust Stories starred Radhika Apte, Bhumi Pednekar, Manisha Koirala.
- Ghoul starred Manav Kaul, Radhika Apte, Rohit Pathak.
- Andhadhun starred Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte.
It was perhaps one of those rare moments when something came close to compete with Bollywood. Because you know, India loves Bollywood like nothing else!
Netflix competitors in India
Netflix’s massive success in India has given rise to many companies offering more or less the same service. Currently, Netflix India has around 30+ rivals. Some competitors charge a subscription fee such as Hotstar, while some offer their services free of cost. Some are even offered as a bundled product with other apps such as MX Player. Some of the major rivals of Netflix India are:
- Amazon Prime: With big hits such as Mirzapur, and The Family Man, Amazon’s Prime Video is undoubtedly the arch-rival to Netflix.
- Sony Liv
- Alt Balaji
- MX Player
Research suggests that in 2008, only 8 OTT or over-the-top platforms, as these are called, existed in India. Today there are 30+ such platforms. And this trend has picked up traction since the beginning of 2017.
Latest news about Netflix in India
Netflix India has announced that it has some more pretty exciting projects in the pipeline for the Indian audience. Apart from that, the Chief Executive of Netflix has announced that it plans to invest around three thousand crore rupees (roughly $392 million) in 2020 alone, towards original content creation. Netflix India is here to set things straight and be the ultimate champion!