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Netflix in India: a long journey

10 January 2016 Vinita Jakhanwal

Netflix has switched on its service in 130 countries including India. However, IHS doubts this is going to create an immediate impact to the Indian over-the-top (OTT) market.

Firstly, the broadband household and smartphone penetration are rather low. According to IHS, the broadband household penetration of India is 6.1% and smartphone penetration is 14.9% in 2015. Both metrics are still considered low by the regional standard.

Secondly, Netflix's local content is scarce. From Bollywood to cricket, the Indian TV market sure has a high demand for local contents. Though Netflix has been investing heftily in original programming and international shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have gained much popularity; it lacks Hindi general entertainment contents - the most-watched genre in the country.

Furthermore, Netflix's cheapest plan is priced at Rs 500 (US$7.50) per month while its existing rivals in the market offer monthly plan ranging from free to an average of Rs 300 (US$4.50), not to mention the ubiquity of piracy in India.

Netflix is competing with international OTT players including HOOQ and Spuul as well as anticipating the arrival of China-based LeTV early this year. In order to win the game, it is important for Netflix to beef up its local content library, either by acquisition or partnership to create original programming.

Vinita Jakhanwal is a senior director for IHS
Posted on 11 January

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