Netflix hikes subscription prices in the UK: Should Indian customers be concerned?

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New Delhi | Published: May 31, 2019 12:00:12 PM

Netflix is raising the price of its subscription plans again

In its fight against the deep-pocketed rivals – Disney and Apple – as they gear up to launch their streaming services later this year, Netflix is raising the subscription prices for its UK customers. The standard definition tier, with 2 screens, now costs 1 British pound more, at 8.99 pounds while the premium plan, that includes UHD video streams, has gone up 2 pounds to 11.99 pounds.

Netflix allows streaming on two simultaneous screens under the standard plan, while the premium plan supports 4 screens that can stream 4K quality videos. Its basic plan, which is limited to one screen with the standard definition videos, is unaffected by the price surge.

The change in the subscription plans comes as the Los Gatos-headquartered company looks to invest heavily into its original programming to up the ante against Disney+ and Apple TV+, both of which are likely to wrest a significant share of the market when they formally launch. Netflix upped the subscription costs last in 2017.

Read | Netflix, Hotstar, other OTT players eye bottom of the pyramid customers

In the UK, Netflix has 10 million subscribers – a large chunk of its global 150 million base – who will gradually be moved up from the old subscription tiers. The new customers will, however, have to shell out money according to the new pricing immediately.

Netflix is doubling down on its content that is universally acclaimed for their storylines and an appeal to the viewers. Apart from its home market, the US, Netflix is betting its money on the local content, including the British shows, such as The Crown, Bodyguard, and more. Netflix is looking to drive more revenues to its $15 billion budget allocated for content.

Here in India, Netflix is aggressively focusing on local content in different languages. It has roped in bigwigs from the industry, including Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Anurag Kashyap, and others, to spearhead some of its existing and upcoming shows. However, Netflix faces a cut-throat challenge from other OTT players in India, including the homegrown services.

Hotstar, ZEE5, Voot, and Viu are some of the services that have a reasonable hold of India’s streaming market. Netflix, although heavily invested in original programming that is universally raved, is costlier for Indians. Its basic plan starts at Rs 500 per month while the premium 4K plan costs Rs 800 per month, which is only marginally less than the annual plans of the local streaming services.

But Netflix is seemingly resorting to adopt what is ubiquitous among its peers in India. The sachet-like subscriptions that do not burn a hole in the customer’s pocket. Netflix confirmed it is testing voucher plans that start as low as Rs 65 for one-week validity.

Besides, the streaming company is even testing a Rs 250 monthly plan that will allow the mobile users to stream Netflix shows in standard quality. Netflix has repeatedly talked about India’s importance in its global expansion, largely because of a decisive number of mobile phone users and organically low-price data plans.

In the face of new subscription plans being mulled, Netflix likely cannot afford to raise the prices in India and defer the potential customers. A large portion of viewers in India still favour torrenting the content for its ease and free nature.

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