Netflix pilots $4 mobile plans in India to conquer users

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Netflix Inc. is testing a 250 rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, the video-streaming giant said, aiming to boost its presence in a price sensitive market where data usage in smartphones is rising.

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen at its office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

California-based Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, ranging from 500 rupees to 800 rupees, but which are still expensive in comparison with similar products of competitors.

Amazon Prime service, which offers video streaming, music, and faster shipping of the purchases, a price of 999 rupees per year, while local rival Hotstar is a free service paid plans from 365 rupees per year.

Netflix test plan 250 rupees per month, provides users with access to standard definition video on smartphones and tablets, a company spokesman said.

“We will be testing different options in the countries where the members are, for example, Netflix on their mobile device for a lower price and register it in shorter intervals of time,” he added.

Netflix-Indian roster includes blockbuster originals such as “Holy Games”, the global superhits such as “Narcos” as well as the Indian cinema. However, the premium structure is seen by critics as a stumbling block for the bulking up of the Indian user base.

Chief Executive Reed Hastings told Reuters at the end of last year that Netflix had no plans for cheaper prices in India, where the goal is to win the next 100 million subscribers.

The company emphasized Tuesday that the new plan is a test and the company does not have the roll-out of these specific plans outside of the tests.

Netflix is the strategy to launch the test for mobile devices in India comes against the backdrop of a rising demand for smartphones in the world is the second largest market for mobile phones with more than 1.1 billion wireless connections.

Ambitious buyers are looking for larger screens and a better user experience is likely to spend more on their second or third smartphones, making the average selling price by 18 percent compared to last year to $190, said Tarun Pathak of technology researcher Counterpoint.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by David Goodman

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