With more than 130 million subscribers, Netflix CEO said that they believe India has the potential to deliver the next 100 million subscribers. A long time rumour that has been echoing is that Netflix is looking on “experimenting with its pricing model” for some markets, including India. While some media reports spoke of cheaper plans to be launched by Netflix for the Indian viewers, company CEO, Reed Hastings denied any such thing. He said that the company is not introducing any cheaper plans in India.
The rumors spread when chief product officer of Netflix, Greg Peters said, “We’ll experiment with other pricing models, not only for India but around the world that will allow us to broaden access by providing a pricing tier that sits below our current lowest tier.” The statement was given by him when Netflix announced its earnings in the month of October.
In an interview with Thomson Reuters, Hastings mentioned that Peters’ words have been “misinterpreted” and Netflix has no plans to bring cheaper plans for the Indian viewer. “It got misunderstood as a decision that we are going to have lower prices in India, which is not something we are particularly contemplating,” Hastings said.
He further said that the plans are for India only and are “modestly lower than what the company charges in the United States”. In India, Netflix has three plans. The basic one costs Rs 500 per month, the standard plan is for Rs 650 per month and platinum is priced at Rs 800 per month.
In India, Hastings said, “we see the typical mix across these three plans that we see in many other countries like the U.S., which would indicate that we don’t have a pricing issue. Because if it was, everyone would be on the lower price plan.” However, the local players in the industry believe that the plans available for Netflix are much costlier compared to domestic competitors like Hotstar, Amazon Prime video, and others.
Hastings believes that Netflix, despite higher costs when compared to other local players, can thrive in the Indian market. He said, “Now it is true that Youtube is free, and Amazon is basically free, and cable is extremely inexpensive because it’s ad-supported. To some degree that creates a consumer expectation.” But he said that the cost of Netflix in India is “like going to the movie theatre 2-3 tickets a month, but you get to watch a lot more.”
At an event held in Singapore, Netflix launched 17 new original productions for the Asia market, including India. Nine original series have been launched for the Indian market. Hastings mentioned that local productions are the key driving source for new subscribers in India. Netflix, which was launched in India 2 years back, gained attention with the release of Lust Stories and Sacred Games. The online platform has also announced the release of Sacred Games season 2 very soon.