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You can save a ton by purchasing bundled subscriptions your telecom operators are offering. But only if you play your cards r

We all know there has been a war going on between the OTT, over-the-top entertainment platforms (1).

During the coronavirus-resultant lockdown last year, people purchased multiple OTT platform subscriptions such as Amazon Prime, SonyLiv, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, and more (2).

There are more than 40 such video streaming platforms in India, and only a handful offer free services. Most of the users have purchased yearly subscription plans and watching their favorite shows and movies over there. However, as predicted by many, users are overwhelmed by the segmentation of these platforms, their costs and cannot decide which platforms to subscribe to.

Hence, it has led to a shift in consumers’ preferences, and they have now started looking at more than easy video calling, high-speed internet, and saving some bucks.

As a relief to many, telecom operators have now started offering bundled packages with free OTT services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix (3).

Today, let’s talk about how much you can save with bundled subscriptions, getting complimentary subscriptions to OTT platforms, and a list of all recharge plans with free subscriptions to video streaming services.

Note: This article primarily applies to postpaid plan users who are separately purchasing OTT subscriptions.

How Much Can You Save?

Love Netflix and chill? But are you worried about the expenses of standalone subscriptions of different video streaming services, plus your annual data plans? Well, it turns out, you may not have to pay even a single dime for subscriptions to popular video streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

You can save a lot of money by paying your postpaid or prepaid mobile recharge plans properly. Why? It is because Airtel, Reliance Jio, and VI are bundling subscriptions for popular OTT platforms. You only need to reconfigure your prepaid or postpaid plan to get the best value if you have not already (4).

If you get a bundled subscription for your mobile plans with video streaming platforms, here is how much you can save.

The Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription needs about 399 INR a year, and the Disney+ Hotstar Premium subscription costs about 299 INR a month or 1499 INR per year (5). You will need to pay about 329 INR for three months or 999 INR a year for Amazon Prime Subscription. Notably, it comes with Amazon Prime Music, Amazon Prime benefits, and Amazon Prime Video (6).

Netflix subscription options start at 499 INR a month for the basic HD subscription and go all the way up to 799 INR a month for the Premium Ultra HD plan (7). Even though Netflix also offers a mobile-only plan for 199 INR a month, it is too limiting. Sony Liv comes at 199 INR a year for the special pack and 999 a year for the premium plan (8), while Zee5 charges 999 INR a year for the All Access Pack (9).

OTT Subscriber Base in India

If you have purchased more than one OTT platform subscription, that would be a lot of money. Netflix alone is pretty expensive.

What Your Mobile Plan Can Get You?

Let us give you a snippet of what is available with each mobile connection for both prepaid and postpaid.

If you have a Reliance Jio Subscription, you get bundled subscription for a complete range of Jio apps, including Jio Cinema and Jio TV. That is a lot of content for consumption, including Live TV, which no other rival does well. Only Airtel comes close.

Airtel, the second most prominent telecom provider in India, is bundling the Amazon Prime subscription for a year which includes all the Prime membership benefits. Airtel postpaid users get Zee5 and Airtel Xstream premium video subscriptions as part of their Airtel Thanks rewards. Interestingly, the Amazon Prime Subscription option is available only on the 249 INR prepaid recharge plan.

VI, Vodafone India offers subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Vodafone Play, and Zee5b platforms with all postpaid plans above 499 INR. Notably, The VI RED X premium postpaid plan available at 1099 INR a month gets an additional Netflix bundle with all other benefits. All its prepaid plans offer Vodafone Play and Zee5 subscriptions.

How to Get Free Netflix Subscriptions?

Jio Post Paid Plus Plans

If you are a Jio postpaid Plus user, you get the bundle Netflix (basic), Amazon Prime (99 INR applicable), Disney+ Hotstar VIP, and other Jio Apps. These plans start from 399 INR to 1499 INR a month. Notably, there is no Netflix subscription offer available with regular postpaid plans and prepaid plans.

Check out all the Jio postpaid plans here.

Jio Fiber Prepaid

A Jio Fiber prepaid user can avail of OTT subscriptions of Netflix (Premium), Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar VIP, Zee5, Sony Liv, Sun NXT, Voot Select, Voot Kids, ALTBalaji, Hoichoi, Lionsgate Play, Discovery+, Eros Now, JioCinema, JioSaavn from plans starting at 1499 INR to 8499 INR a month.

The same subscriptions are also available for Jio Fiber quarterly prepaid plans starting from 4497 INR, semi-annual prepaid plans starting from 8994 INR, and annual plans from 17988 INR.

Click here to get details of all the Jio Fiber prepaid plans.

Jio Fiber Postpaid

Jio Fiber users can get free Netflix (premium) subscriptions along with Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstart VIP, SonyLiv, Zee5, SunNXT, Voot Select, Voot Kids, ALT Balaji, Hoichoi, ShemarooMe, Lionsgate Play, Discovery+, Eros Now, and other Jio Apps with semi-annual plans starting from 8994 INR and annual plans starting from 17988 INR.

Click here to get details of all the Jio Fiber postpaid plans.

Jio Offers a World of Entertainment to its Users

While we are talking about Jio’s Netflix offers, we still can’t overlook other offers Jio provides its consumers (10). Its Jio TV app is available for free on both Android and iOS platforms. It is also perhaps the best app for users who wish to watch live tv without any DTH or cable tv subscription since it has over 500 live channels on board, including over 60 HD channels.

As we noted before, no other live tv app in India comes close to the extensive and variety of channel options that Jio TV has to offer.

Reliance also offers Jio Cinema app to all of its subscribers, an extensive library of TV shows and movies, including exclusive Disney content, including Avengers franchises, Star Wars, and Iron Man. The application is also available on Android, iOS, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV stick platforms.

Vi Post Paid Plans

You can get a free one-year Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription with VI Red X postpaid plans at 1099 INR (11).

Apart from these subscriptions and unlimited data, users also avail of international and domestic airport lounges at no extra cost for four (one international) times, premium customer service, Vi Movies, TV Vip access, and a seven-day international roaming pack.

As of now, VI doesn’t offer any free Netflix subscription with its prepaid plans.

Click here to get details about all the VI plans.

What about Airtel?

In 2018, Airtel had started offering free Netflix for its postpaid customers under its “Thank You” campaign (12). However, in 2020, Airtel stopped offering it as part of its Xstream Fiber broadband plan and postpaid users (13). However, it still offers one year Amazon Prime subscription, Zee5 Premium, Disney+ Hotstar VIP, and Airtel Xstream services to its postpaid and broadband subscribers.

If you are a prepaid Airtel customer, you can still avail of Amazon Prime membership, Airtel Xstream, Apollo 24|7 for three months, free Hellotunes, Wynk Music, cashback on FASTag, and free online courses on Shaw Academy with its 349 INR Truly Unlimited pack.

The Airtel Xstream app is also worth mentioning since it offers more than 10k movies, TV shows, and other content from several different platforms under the same roof (14). It includes Hungama, Zee5, Eros Now, ShareIT, HOOQ, ShemarooMe, YouTube, Ultra, Curiosity Stream, and more. It also offers live TV, including multiple HD channels. Users can access Airtel Xstream app on Android and iOS platforms.

Airtel also offers other prepaid plans with similar benefits with Amazon Edition Free Mobile Trial for 30 days and Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription for a year.

To claim the offer, users need to go to the My Airtel App and claim it under the Offers tab.

BSNL Offers OTT Subscriptions Via Add-On Packs

Earlier this year, the state-run telco BSNL, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, also started offering OTT benefits with its broadband plans via add-on packages in a bid to compete against market leaders like Airtel and Reliance Jio.

At present, its add-on packages are available at two prices, 129 INR a month and 199 INR a month.

Users can buy the plan for the initial three months can get it for 129 INR a month. Subsequently, they will have to pay 199 INR a month for the same, as reported by the KeralaTelecom report.

The add-on packages will provide free subscriptions to OTT platforms such as Voot Select, Sony Liv, Zee5 Premium, YuppTV Live, all NCF channels, YuppTV FDFS, first-day first show, Yupp TV Movies, and other support and marketing content.

Notably, the company also offer a free subscription to Disney+ Hostar Premium with its Superstar 300 GB/month at 779 INR a month fiber broadband plan, the Superstar 500 GB/month at 949 INR a month, Fibre Premium at 999 INR a month, and Fiber Ultra at 1,499 INR a month (15).

The Need for Bundled Subscriptions

These telecom and OTT companies are joining hands because India likes the convenience.

A recent Ovum-Amdocs survey on the OTT service state in India (16) suggested that over 47% of subscribers are less likely to switch service providers if they get their preferred video streaming service. Meanwhile, about 30% of the respondents stated that they didn’t mind switching to another operator if their present operator does not offer their preferred streaming service.

The report also highlighted that as many as 50% of users are willing to pay for premium media services with their telecom carrier bill if they get a discount or has an extended free trial.

Interestingly, as per the report, Sony Liv gets 50% of its total subscribers from mobile, TV bills, or broadband bundles. It is the most for streaming service in the country. Voot comes at second with 38%, followed closely by Zee5 at 34%.

Amazon Prime, which includes the Amazon Prime Video streaming service, gets 25% of its total subscription from bundles. However, it is mainly found in tariff plans from VI and Airtel. Netflix gets 19% of its subscribers from bundles.

The survey mentioned above raises an essential shortcoming of the Indian OTT video streaming ecosystem, the lack of a pay-per-view option. As many as 69% of the survey respondent would not mind paying for specific content instead of full monthly online subscriptions. It stems that Indian consumers, on average, pay about 306 INR per month for video subscriptions.

According to the survey, the maximum people would willingly pay for a monthly video streaming subscription is 50 to 200 INR, 22%, 201 to 400 INR, 30%, 401 to 600 INR, 22%, 601 to 800 INR, 12%, and more than 800 INR, 7%.

It also talks about how more than 70% of consumers would not mind paying less for a service, even if they have to sit through ads. And it raises another scenario about access to streaming apps for targeted ads in return for services at a possible discount, especially when about 16% of users are comfortable sharing personal data as long as it is not identifiable.

At the same time, it is also worth highlighting that more than 12% of consumers don’t want to share any personal data.

The Popularity of Media Bundling

In India, the bundling scenario has become pretty popular over the last year (17). As we talked about in the article, most telecom providers in India are offering bundled subscriptions of video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, and more with their postpaid, prepaid, and broadband plans.

The major advantage for telecom operators is that it allows them to upgrade their tariff plans to users, which results in better ARPU, average revenue per user’s stats. It also increases data consumption and allows service providers to position themselves more than telecom providers.

It is also a great opportunity for OTT platforms to get more subscribers on board while spending significantly less on subscriber acquisition costs. They also get better retention numbers as a subscriber is likely to stay as an active subscriber for the long term if the subscriber is a bundle. And as OTT platforms don’t have to pay for ads, they can attempt to venture into newer markets.

Wrapping Up

OTT platforms were going to replace tvs in our homes sooner or later anyway (18); it was only the pandemic that accelerated the process. They are now getting so popular that they are even outperforming movie theatres.

These video streaming services offer exclusive content and access to common films in various genres and languages. Use any of the recharge plans above to get free OTT subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, and enjoy watching while saving money.

With that being said, Indian telecom providers are still not offering any bundle with Rakuten Viki Pass, which we all have grown to cherish over the past few years, especially last year amid the pandemic.