Netflix’s Entry into India
“India being such a great production hub (for films), this is something we can look for sure. In terms of Indian content, we’re looking at a new wave of Indian independent cinema that’s really exciting us. What’s really important is, now that we’ve launched, we get to see what people are engaging with. We’ll add more of what people want to see.”1
- Chitavan Patel, Director, Content Acquisition, Netflix
The trivial search for a Yoga instructional video on YouTube led to a video by Rajshri Entertainment Private Limited (Rajshri). Free video content from a production house like Rajshri was a surprise as Rajshri was one of the oldest players in the Indian film industry and had produced blockbuster Hindi movies like Dosti (1964), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), etc. In depth internet search confirmed that, while Rajshri makes and distributes movies, it also produces 200 minutes of web-only video per day2 and offers it on ad-based video streaming sites like YouTube at no cost. Though Rajshri believes that the future is in online streaming, it also agrees to the fact that free video is the norm in India. “The Indian consumer is just not willing to pay for content,”3 said Rajjat A. Barjatya, CEO, Rajshri. Not just Rajshri, but stalwart like 21st Century Fox, through its Star India, offers free online access to sports broadcasts, movies and TV shows through a website and mobile app called Hotstar. While free streaming, low-cost cable or pirated content happens to be the norm in India, few local and international players, like Netflix, are currently persuading to change this habit of Indian consumers and get them to pay for online video content.
Netflix is a monthly subscription-based Over-The-Top (OTT)4 video streaming service provider that launched its services in India (along with 129 other countries) as a part of its international expansion strategy on January 6th 2016. The news of its launch was received with pessimism by the industry experts because of its high monthly subscription rates and the numerous hurdles – like price sensitivity of consumers, poor data connectivity, multitude of languages, competitors, etc.
- 1 “Netflix content in India may very well double in a year”, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-08/news/69615281_1_content-user-better-call-saul, January 8th 2016 (accessed date: March 18th 2016)
- 2 Vindu Goel, “India Offers Atypical Video Challenges”, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/28/technology/bollywood-and-usmedia-giants-try-to-induce-indians-to-pay-for-video.html, December 27th 2015 (accessed date March 18th 2016)
- 3 Ibid.
- 4 Over-The-Top (OTT) refers to video, television, and other services provided over the Internet rather than via a service provider’s own dedicated, managed IPTV network.