Netflix is certainly an overwhelming force to reckon with. Its innovative content and international appeal have transformed it into a business success in the digital entertainment realm.
However, it is battling hard with major video streaming firms in India. This was confirmed by its chairman, co-founder, and president and CEO, Reed Hastings.
Although viewed as a premium platform and a niche in the highly populated South Asian nation, Netflix is on the losing end. It is being defeated by homegrown subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) firms like ALTBalaji, Hotstar, and plenty of others.
These Indian companies are gaining subscribers at a much swifter rate than Netflix. The first reason for this trend is content. Netflix may have launched its first series in Hindi, “Sacred Games,” but its competitors like Zee5, Sony Liv, and Voot are already working on exclusive content.
These shows are in regional patois like Marathi, Bengali, and Tamil. Zee5 executive Tarun Katial remarked that the local SVOD players have the upper hand. He observed that the international players do not understand the Indian consumers more than the local OTT players do.
He defended that the Indian SVOD firms have been in operation for quite a long time. Therefore, they are well aware of the local consumers’ taste, possessing a huge content library that connects to the audience, and are well on its way to going digital.
Pricing is also an important factor why Netflix is losing its appeal to Indian audiences. With Netflix revisiting its premium pricing strategy in India to acquire more viewers, AltBalaji CEO Nachiket Pantvaidya said that they are adjusting their price offering towards the more affordable level.
The third factor is the distribution of content. India is making life more difficult for Netflix since the country’s local players are more powerful. Pantvaidya affirmed that the local players still have the advantage in terms of distribution partnerships with wallets, Ola, or telecommunications companies.
Business projections note that India will have more than 350 million video streaming viewers in the next two years. Moreover, the country’s profits from SVOD services are forecasted to reach Rs 5,500 crore ($799.6 million) by 2021.
Netflix is reported to be in stagnation status in the developed markets. Hence, it is painstakingly working hard to win the Indian market.
Besides adding more content in diverse languages, the video streaming giant is eyeing India’s wealthy audience segment. India could reportedly give Netflix its desired viewer growth, hence, the SVOD behemoth’s approximated yearly investment of roughly Rs 500 crore ($72.7 million).