Netflix misses global subscriber target, but upbeat about India growth

Online video-streaming giant Netflix missed its global target of adding 6.2 million subscribers in the quarter ended June 2018, but reiterated that the fundamentals of its business remained strong and that it had a lot of room for growth in the Indian market. 

In a call with investors post its second-quarter earnings on Monday, the California-headquartered firm said it was still exploring options in India, which held immense potential for its growth. “There are 3-4 different sorts of growth patterns within India in terms of different demographics, segments and groups,” David Wells, CFO of Netflix, told the investors.

Netflix, which made a foray in India in January 2016, launched its first original film targeted at local audiences — Lust Stories — only in June 2018. The four-part film became its most-watched original in percentage terms in any individual market in the first month. Netflix also said its original series “Sacred Games”, directed by Anurag Kashyap, was also off to a similarly strong start. A third original “Ghoul” will be launched on August 24.

“I would say we’re far from reaching a limit in terms of the addressable market given the pricing structures we have right now, we've got a lot of room to grow in a reasonably affluent part of the society in India and other markets around the world,” said Greg Peters, Chief Product Officer at Netflix.

The firm has turned its attention on India at a time when rival Amazon is focusing on local content to grow its prime subscriber base. But Netflix’s focus on India isn’t just to counter Amazon’s growth but to drive subscriptions and revenues from the country in the near future. 

However, while Netflix painted a picture of abundance of growth, driven by countries such as India, investors nixed the company’s stock price by 14 per cent in early trading hours for signing up one million fewer subscribers in Q2 than it had earlier projected.

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