Netflix has been trying to make a mark in India for a while now, and its co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, recently expressed optimism about the company’s growth in the country. During the first quarter earnings call, Sarandos said that Netflix is looking to tap into the Indian market and is willing to adjust its pricing and content delivery to suit the market’s needs.
Sarandos had earlier termed India as the fastest-growing market during his visit in February. He said that better pricing could help grow the company’s revenue in the country. Netflix has seen a steady improvement in user engagement in films and series quarter-over-quarter. The streaming service has seen a 30% growth in customer engagement and a 24% revenue growth year-on-year in India after launching a low-priced subscription plan in the country in 2021.
Netflix lowered its subscription prices across all its plans in December 2021, bringing its lowest plan to INR 149 per month. The company believes that these price reductions, combined with an improved slate, helped grow engagement in India by nearly 30% year-on-year.
According to Sarandos, local Indian content is traveling globally more than ever. Rana Naidu is one of the shows that people all over the country love, and movies like RRR have done business all over the world. To succeed in India, Sarandos said that Netflix needs to get the pricing and payment methods right. He added that India is a big market because of its population of entertainment-loving people, and the company needs to have a product that they love.
Despite its success in India, Netflix faces several challenges. The streaming platform has reportedly cancelled some original shows in the development and shooting stage as it does not see these bets paying off. Additionally, the Indian content budget has gone down by 35%-40%.
In the regional OTT space in India, Netflix competes with domestic players such as Zee5, MX Player, Hoichoi, and Aha. Furthermore, Netflix has another cash-heavy big competitor in the market as well, in the form of Jio Cinema. It is reported that Reliance Jio is planning to release as many as 100 movies and shows on its OTT platform, JioCinema, over the next 18-24 months, produced at a cost of well over INR 2,000 Cr.
Netflix still has a long way to go in regional language content in India. However, Sarandos believes that as the content opportunity continues to scale and Netflix’s ability to access the market and throw those audiences continues to grow, the company can do quite well in India.