While Netflix’s content is believed to be more popular than that of Amazon Prime Video, the latter offers a one-day delivery service — a part of its e-commerce offering — a big draw.
With a mobile-only plan that costs just Rs 199 per month and a content portfolio that’s increasingly catering to Indian viewers, Netflix has upped its game in India. But the competition is keen: Hotstar’s Rs 299 per month — across all devices — is an excellent deal since a big chunk of the content comes from sports — which Netflix has none of. Moreover, consumers get to watch HBO content which includes big banner films and popular shows — Game of Thrones, for instance.
While Netflix’s content is believed to be more popular than that of Amazon Prime Video, the latter offers a
one-day delivery service — a part of its e-commerce offering — a big draw. The California-headquartered video streaming platform’s game plan appears to be to have edgy content.
Industry experts point out that it must build the India library to complement its global library. Already, Disney is set to launch a streaming service in November and so will not be part of Netflix. Industry insiders say Netflix will focus on regional content even as it produces more of its own shows—a la Sacred Games. “People who may have stayed away because the Rs 250 per month price point was a little high may now watch Netflix,” one executive said.
Others, however, are not so sure since India is aprice-sensitive market. “If Netflix succeeds, this would be the time subscribers are paying for content on the phone,” one expert noted. Others pointed out that some viewers may be satisfied with the content available bundled with telecom service providers.
Netflix, of course, has the financial muscle to produce good content and buy it. Indeed, streaming services are becoming all about fat chequebooks as the production ecosystem becomes more expensive by the day. While the annual spend on streaming services is estimated to be around Rs 2,000 crore-Rs 2,500 crore, this is tipped to go up by about 10-15% annually. The cost of a show ranges anywhere between Rs 15 lakh per episode to Rs 5 crore per episode, given who the stars and who the creative team comprises. To be sure the new plan will help Netflix round up more subscribers; whether the numbers are material remains to be seen.
Competition in the OTT space is intensifying. From nine players in 2012, the number of players in India’s video OTT market increased to 32 in 2018, analysts at BCG said. They expect cheap data prices and rising smartphone penetration to boost the size of domestic OTT market to $5 billion by 2023. Of the three billion smartphones across the world currently, the Indian market accounts for over 450 million, estimate analysts at BCG