Streaming services are all the rage now. Gone are the days of Cable TV and advertisements in between shows. The streaming giants of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar have taken over the world.
However, the biggest and baddest in town, Netflix, seems to have failed to crack the Indian business market unlike the rest of the countries. It has become a real dilemma for the officials of the company. Reed Hastings, the co-CEO of the company, recently expressed his frustrations but why has Netflix not been able to conquer India?
What Is Happening?
Netflix’s performance has remained stagnant and stable in its home country of the United States of America. Hence, they decided to venture out and spread their business in other countries as well.
Netflix was launched in India in 2016 and since then the service has done a pretty decent job. However, it remains at a distant third position in the country as a research firm recently revealed that the streaming service has only 5.5 million Indian subscribers which is objectively low owing to the population of India.
Netflix’s competitors, Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar remain way ahead of the number with 22 million and 46 million subscribers respectively. Analysts have been trying to work out a strategy and identify the problem areas where Netflix can improve but unfortunately, the results are not up to the expected standards of the company.
Reed Hastings has compared the Indian market to the Brazilian market where according to him “It was brutal the first couple of years. We thought Netflix would never break even in the country yet it is now the company’s second-biggest market with around 18 million subscribers.”
Regional streaming services have also entered the market which results in tough competition to the already existing big companies. However, Netflix has not diminished hope in conquering the Indian market saying that “It is not too difficult to figure out” and “Hope we can pull another Brazil here.”
The pandemic helped Netflix gain a strong foothold in the country. However, the company is still staring at a tough market ahead where only quality content targeted towards its consumers and its subscription prices will ultimately decide its fate.
The Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings appeared in an earnings call for the fourth quarter of 2021 where he said, “In every single other major market, we have got the flywheel spinning. The thing that frustrates us is why haven’t we been as successful in India, but we are leaning in there.”
What Seems To Be The Problem?
Skilled analysts report that Netflix did not get its content strategy right for the Indian market. Netflix has managed to buy only 20 of the top 100 theatrical films that have ruled over Bollywood since 2018 whereas Amazon Prime acquired 48.
Netflix bought just 9 Telugu titles whereas Amazon Prime has 40 titles on the streaming service. Zee5 has bought twice this number of movies. Analysts have been questioning Netflix’s strategy towards non-Hindi programming for years now.
Zee5 has reported that most of its viewership comes from regional content. Disney+ Hotstar has also declared the same thing as it enjoys being the top subscription service in the country. Hotstar also wins in another field where Netflix has fallen behind.
Hotstar gained the number of users it has due to the fact that it hosts a lot of sports content. The streaming service hosts live Indian cricket matches including most of the ICC tournaments and the IPL. It also streams the major football league, the EPL.
Amazon Prime also realized this strategy and bought the rights to stream New Zealand’s home cricket matches. Netflix needs to start streaming sports content in order to at least stay in the competition.
Content aside, Netflix has not even managed to get the pricing and distribution correct for the Indian market. The company slashed 60% of its subscriptions prices in India while they raised prices in the United States.
It is a probability that they reduced prices in India to compete with their rivals in the price-sensitive geography and increase their subscriber base. The company has also already invested around $400 million in Indian content.
Netflix has reported that they are not giving up on the country yet and will bring forth diversity in their content. We can just hope it succeeds!
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This Post Is Tagged Under: Streaming services, Cable TV, streaming giants, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hotstar, Indian business market, United States of America, HotStar, Analysts, Brazilian market, Regional streaming services, Brazil, pandemic, Netflix CEO, Indian market, Bollywood, Telugu, Zee5, Hindi, Indian cricket matches, ICC tournaments, IPL, the EPL, New Zealand, Indian content, Netflix subscription, Netflix Shows, Netflix movies, Netflix original content, Netflix India, Netflix in India