US-based Internet TV service Netflix's arrival has generated a lot of buzz among consumers of online video content. Netflix here has three subscription packages priced at Rs 500, Rs 650, and Rs 800. For the first month unlimited streaming has been offered for free. Its pricing was the key issue in a country where users have free access to videos, even though some platforms do offer the 'freemium' model with part free-part paid content
Will Netflix Work In India? #Tellafaqs!— afaqs! (@afaqs) January 8, 2016
So, how does this development impact the over-the-top (OTT) space and paid content consumption? Will Netflix sustain in a market that has a substantial base of illegally-accessed and pirated online content? Industry experts provide us their view.
Gaurav Gandhi, chief operating officer, Viacom18 Digital Ventures
The OTT explosion in India is happening primarily on mobile, so long format consumption at high data costs on mobile is a completely different paradigm here. Add to that the current challenge of bandwidth, which can change a bit with 4G and fixed line broadband.
I think Netflix will play the role of a 'category expander' for the online video market, as it is the only subscription-based VOD service with the kind of content only it has.
T Gangadhar, managing director, MEC India
Will this boost paid content? While it's too early to predict, it may well be. When great content is available online, cord-cutting is an inevitable outcome. India is quite savvy when it comes to international content, thanks to torrents. This generation will now have the choice to watch the same high-quality content via legitimate means. This will get a massive fillip with 4G and faster broadband infrastructure.
As far as content catalogues are concerned, they are a function of complexities related to geographic rights. Its TV-show catalogue seems quite robust, so does the kids-targeted content. Most of Netflix's own flagship shows are available, so that's a great spread. Once the distribution rights are sorted out, I am sure the volume of movies will see a big uptick.
Uday Sodhi, executive vice-president and head, digital business, Multi Screen Media
The market today is still nascent, and there is room for a lot of players yet. We will play to our strengths and Netflix will play to its strengths, and as markets evolve, consumers will choose content that they want. We are now seeing more and more players come out with paid options, especially for premium movies and shows. It is exciting to see early adopters use their credit cards and mobile payment options. We plan to integrate digital wallets, so there's a lot of innovation taking place. Basically, smartphone adoption, bandwidth improvement, and payment options, are the key to these businesses maturing.
Subin Subaiah, chief executive officer, Spuul Global
In terms of efficient online consumption in India, one could argue that it's going to take a while for a certain homogenity to set in, so where infrastructure is not friendly, our own focus has been more on getting consumers to download content.
Overall, Netflix in India will educate Indian consumers, take them off piracy, and further help in the revolution of paying for content.