Netflix may soon launch a cheaper plan in India for mobile users only

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In 2016, entertainment giant Netflix entered the Indian market, making a bid to redefine the content consumption scene of South Asia. Since then, there has been an upswing in the number of users streaming to their mobile devices, and now Netflix is taking notice.

According to a Malaysian paper, The Star, the company is testing out a mobile-only subscription plan that cuts the monthly fee by half. Subscription plans currently cost between Rs. 500 to Rs. 800 per month in India, but the scheme being tested right now costs closer to Rs. 250 only.

Netflix has demonstrated a marked interest in customers in regions like India, where access to WiFi, along with places with expensive data plans, are limited. They addressed the problem with the download feature on the mobile app, allowing users to download content on the app so they can watch it offline.

With the above context, as well as the variegated distribution of income in India, the new scheme currently under testing makes sense, and will surely have many takers in India.

UPDATE: In an interview with Reuters on November 9, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings busted the rumours that the company had plans for cheaper plans in India, saying that an executive's comments suggesting otherwise had been 'misunderstood'.

Hastings said that Netflix has three price tiers in India- a basic plans for Rs 500, a standard one for Rs 650, and a premium plan for Rs 800. Data showed that subscriptions ranged pretty much equitably across these three plans, which would indicate that Indian consumers did not find the standard and premium plans too expensive. 

When asked directly whether Netflix was therefore not going to implement lower subscription plans in India, he replied,"Correct."

Local industry players, however, are of the opinion that Netflix's pricing will make it difficult to compete against domestic competitors like Hotstar (which is also backed by 21st Century Fox), Amazon's Prime Video, and Tata Sky.

But Hastings refuted that point of view by saying that the cost of Netflix was "like going to the movie theater 2-3 tickets a month, but you get to watch a lot more."