The Netflix app. Picture: BLOOMBERG
The Netflix app. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Bengaluru/Mclymore  — Netflix said on Wednesday that it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.

India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney’s India unit.

Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.

“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.

The creator of Stranger Things and The Crown said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.

The country figures prominently in CEO Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.

“We believe this plan, which will be launched 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,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.

Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).

It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows such as the thriller Sacred Games and dystopian tale Leila, which feature popular Bollywood actors. The second season of Sacred Games is set to be released in August.

In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) a month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.

“We’ve been seeing nice, steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said. “Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul.” 


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