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Will subscription fee driven Netflix work in India?

Netflix recently got into the Indian market and 129 other countries. Indians had been waiting for this incredible video streaming service, for quite a while now, since it has all the international content, which was not legally available in India, earlier. Moreover, a lot of local content is also available. You may choose to watch anything on the continuum from Hum Apke Hain Kaun to Piku or Making A Murderer to Narcos. (Don’t worry House Of Cards will also be available soon)

After the free trial month of Netflix in India, the lowest subscription offer is for Rs.500. Now in a country like India, where one can get roughly 200 channels for Rs.300/month on cable, television is the primary source of entertainment here, unlike US and UK. Television has a massive reach as against media dependent on the online infrastructure. Apart from the fact that it will take really long to change the ideology or the mindset of people, there is one more major concern; a lot of Indians, still reside in villages and small towns, where internet has managed to make its way, but speed is an issue. Buffering time shall be a crucial success determining factor for Netflix in India.

On the other hand, let us not ignore the fact that Netflix is a boon to those who love international content. Netflix content can be viewed on multiple devices like Tablet, Television, Laptop/PC and Smart phones. Now with this kind of comfort, where you can view anything that you want, at any time that you please and at any place that you choose, I don’t think Netflix will face any resistance from Indians. A recent study shows that smart phones will rise to 300 million in next two years and nearly 50% of Indian population is under 25 years of age. That implies, Netflix has a lot of scope in India. Also, Indians have very well accepted Digital India campaign and the government is making apparent efforts for its success.

Let’s envisage a hypothetical situation where a family of 4 pays Rs.600, for DTH service every month, where the father watches four news channels on regular basis and one sports channel on seasonal basis, mother watches three channels for her daily dose of daily soaps, and their son and daughter hardly enjoy any of the two mentioned above. Most teenagers face the same situation as them. Here’s where YouTube/Torrent/Netflix comes to rescue. Rs.650 for HD on Netflix can be used as a complementary source of entertainment along with cable or set top box. People who want new content every now and then and are quality conscious will pick Netflix over YouTube and Torrent. Also, they might reduce the pricing in future, which makes it all the more likely to be successful in India.

Globally Netflix has been responsible for a cultural shift, in the video consumption habits of people.

To end on a lighter note, here is a joke on #NetflixIndia.

Oh well, we are still going to use subscription fee driven Netflix! What about you?