“Our members in India watch more on their mobile phones than anywhere else in the world — and they love to download our shows and films. We believe this new plan will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit people who like to watch on their smartphones and tablets — both on the go and at home,” said Ajay Arora, director-product innovation, Netflix.
He told Business Standard that even though the company is bringing in dubbing in local Indian languages to several of its popular shows and movies, there were no immediate plans to bring local language text to Netflix screens just yet. There will however, be more languages in which series and movies are dubbed, as it expands further into the India market.
Netflix has signed several Indian partnerships and started rolling out original series and films last year, including Sacred Games, whose much-anticipated second season is launching on August 15. It also released movies like Chopsticks, Rajma Chawal, and shows like Delhi Crime. It has 13 new films and nine new original series in the pipeline.
Netflix had said in a letter to shareholders last week: “After several months of testing, we’ve decided to roll out a lower-priced mobile-screen plan in India to complement our existing plans. We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business in a market where pay TV average revenue per user is low (below $5)”.
The latest mobile-only plan was based on Netflix’s observation that more people sign up for Netflix on mobile phones in India than anywhere else in the world. It will also work on more interactive shows like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch this year, which allows users to make decisions about the plot line by choosing different options.
A Boston Consulting Group report titled ‘Entertainment Goes Online’, released last year, pegged the Indian over-the-top market to reach $5 billion in size by 2023. The report expects 45-50 million paying subscribers in India for streaming video content.
Netflix has also introduced features like smart downloads, mobile previews, and sharing to social media, and improved its Android app.