There is no denying the fact that India is one of the biggest markets for the entertainment world. With a thriving multitude of viewership, India has always been good at captivating every global entertainment business towards itself. And the latest in the news to be charmed by her is none other than Netflix.
Yes! This time it is Netflix, the world’s largest paid streaming service provider and Los Gatos, California based company is all set to plough 30 billion Rupees or 3,000 Crores ($420 million) this year and the subsequent year in order to give a major boost to produce more of identifiable and crisp local content in the country.
Netflix’s Chief Executive Reed Hastings was present at an event in New Delhi on Friday. He enthusiastically talked about the company’s plans to expand in India. And the ride starts with a massive investment. “You’ll start to see a lot of stuff hit the screen, big investment. We’re really trying to invest in that becoming more Indian in the content offering.”
It is interesting to note that Netflix is blocked in China effectively, the world’s most populous country and not surprisingly, the biggest entertainment market by potential. So that makes India stand out while hosting a humongous chunk of youth and the working class, who make for the majority of Netflix’s subscribers.
According to sources, Netflix has set up a goal for itself, and the aim is to attract 100 million subscribers in India. With around 4 million estimated subscribers, this aim speaks of some solid ambitious project since it is almost 25 times its estimated customer base considering the data and estimations of this year. There is no doubt Netflix has set up India on top of its priority countries.
According to a report researched and published by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) last year, the Indian streaming video market is a US $ 500 million industry. It has enormous potential to grow multi-fold. It is expected to grow 10 times its current size by just the year 2023, as the number of smartphone users multiplies.
Walt Disney’s Co-owned buddy Hotstar and Amazon’s flourishing venture Amazon Prime give nothing but a tough competition to all the tech biggies out there who want to grab a seat in the roaring Indian streaming industry. What is more challenging for all these companies is to have an ‘economical package’ cost price for the subscribers to get lured.
What increases this tug of war is the competitive edge each of the above listed companies are posing to Netflix. It seems the streaming giant is not the lone wolf in any way! Disney’s powered Hotstar that is already the front runner of the streaming entertainment race in India, will introduce a new streaming service Disney Plus.
Disney Plus has been already introduced in a few international markets already. It is India’s turn now. Apple roped itself in the game with its Apple TV Plus. Moreover, Amazon Prime’s prime focus lies in offering a fresh and spicily brewed local content to the Indian audience. Even Walmart’s backed Flipkart has announced it will launch a free Indian streaming video service.
Reed Hastings added, “We got one eye to being very local and authentic and one eye to what will be shared around the world.” Needless to say, the company is bent towards producing original and local video content and stream it, so it captures the interest of a wider network of audience.
Did we forget Zee5 and Hungama Digital media? Yes! Those are other rivals along with Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar which released their recent ‘The Family Man’ and ‘Out of Love’ with both releases being done on Fridays. Nevertheless, the timing factor has been an important parameter.
Talking about the timing parameter, Aparna Acharekar, programming head at ZEE5 spoke, “We start putting shows up Thursday night which is when millennial start going into the weekend mode, Friday is when people have some time post parties, or work and that’s when they start watching content.” So, obviously, the target audience is the working class of age range 25 to 35.
That the competition for Netflix India is very tough is not an over-statement. It is pitching itself a slightly late maybe. It would then be advantageous for the company if production is done in India itself along with clever marketing and economical pricing. After all, there is a reason why the leading streaming provider has amassed 158 million users globally.