Netflix on Wednesday launched a new lower-priced mobile-only subscription plan in India, after months of testing. The monthly subscription plan is priced at Rs. 199, and it streams only in SD. This plan is only available for mobile and tablet users in India for now, and is much cheaper than the original monthly plans that start from Rs. 499. This plan has been tailored exclusively for Indian users, as Netflix looks to tap into a price-sensitive market where data consumption on smartphones is at peak. Although the streaming service tested the mobile-only plan in other markets like Malaysia and South Korea, it did not say if it plans to expand the plan outside India in the near future.
The Netflix Rs. 199 monthly mobile plan is now available, and it brings features like SD streaming, one concurrent stream support, and availability on tablets. There's no support for casting on TV with this lower-priced plan. Netflix says more people sign up on mobile in India than anywhere in the world, as a percentage of total sign-ups in India. With this, Netflix gears up to compete better with competitive streaming services like Amazon's Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney's India unit.
This new plan has been in testing for a while now, and it joins other plans priced at Rs. 499, Rs. 649, and Rs. 799. At the time of testing, Rs. 250 was the subscription fee charged by Netflix, and it appears to have rethought the decision. To recall, Hotstar charges Rs. 299 per month (Rs. 999 per annum), while Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership that is priced at Rs. 129 per month (Rs. 999 per annum).
"Our members in India watch more on their mobiles than members anywhere else in the world – and they love to download our shows and films. We believe this new plan will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit for people who like to watch on their smartphones or tablets – both on the go and at home,” said Ajay Arora, Director, Product Innovation, Netflix.
Netflix presaged this week's launch in an announcement in its quarterly results letter to shareholders last week. In its letter, it also reported of lower-than-expected subscriber additions.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in Q3, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business in a market where Pay TV ARPU is low (below $5). We will continue to learn more after launch of this plan," the company said in the letter to its shareholders.