KOLKATA: Netflix took its first step to appear as an affordable streaming service last year with the launch of its Rs 199 mobile-only plan. Global executives have spoken of its success repeatedly and implemented similar plans in other markets. Now, it is testing a new Rs 349 plan targeting smartphone users which will allow users to stream HD.
"We launched the mobile plan in India to make it easier for anyone with a smartphone to enjoy Netflix. We want to see if members like the added choice this offer brings. We’ll only roll it out long-term if they do,” a Netflix spokesperson clarified.
Experts believe it will position Netflix stronger in the competitive ecosystem given the large number of smartphone users in the country. SBICap Securities institutional equity research head Rajiv Sharma mentions that all markets or households don’t have wired broadband connection but most of them have a good smartphone and high-speed mobile data. According to him, there is a segment which has an appetite for that plan. Although it will be a niche segment to begin with, depending on the additional offerings it may make a difference, he adds.
Sharma also says that it’s coinciding with the announcement of the 17 new originals. Hence, these fresh stories can result in a good pick-up. He mentions that the company has to monetise 17 originals by increasing subscriber base and recurring revenue.
The Rs 199 plan, the cheapest offering from Netflix in India, comes with standard definition (SD) and only allows users to stream on their smartphones or tablets. On the contrary, the upgraded version of the mobile plan will let users to stream content additionally also on computers with HD.
Elara Capital VP – research analyst (Media) Karan Taurani says that this new plan which is under testing will definitely not be a game-changer like the Rs 199 plan but it is a good move from the marketing perspective. Segmentation of subscriptions into different price-points will help to communicate with different audiences. He also adds while Netflix mostly has a premium audience, if it is rolled out it will be attractive for low and mid users who have a smartphone.
"It’s consistent with this broad theme and goal that we have, which is seeking effective ways to make the Netflix service more accessible. And it certainly has been performing the way that we've expected, which is that it is a significant increase and acceleration in being able to add new members. But also that it's doing it at a way which is, from a revenue perspective, neutral to positive, which we think is a really great position to be in the long term for the business,” Netflix COO and chief product officer Gregory Peters commented earlier on the mobile plans.