Those rates are just modestly lower than that which the company charges in the USA.
But in India,” Hastings said,”we view the normal mix across these three plans we see in a number of different countries like the U.S., that would imply that we do not have a pricing problem. As it was, everyone would be on the decrease price plan.”
Hastings’ remarks followed a Singapore event where the company introduced 17 new original productions for Asia, such as nine for India. He said local manufacturing proved to be a key catalyst of subscribers in India and elsewhere, but he declined to provide specific figures on Asia subscriber numbers and growth.
Netflix launched in India two years ago and has won fans among a young, tech-savvy middle course in a country where movie ingestion of all types is soaring. It scored a major hit in July with the release of Sacred Games, a hard-boiled thriller built around Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan.
Local industry players, however, state Netflix’s prices will make it tough to compete against domestic competitors like 21st Century Fox-backed Hotstar, Amazon’s Prime Video, and satellite TV supplier Tata Sky.
However, Hastings said Netflix could thrive amid cheaper choices.
“Now it’s true that Youtube is free, and Amazon is essentially free, and cable is extremely inexpensive because it is ad-supported. To a degree that produces a customer anticipation,” he explained. But he added that the cost of Netflix in India has been”like going to the movie theatre 2-3 tickets a month, but you get to see a lot more.”
After Netflix’s October earnings statement, chief product officer Greg Peters said:”We’ll experiment with other pricing models, not only for India, but across the world that will enable us to broaden access by providing a pricing grade that sits below our current lowest tier.”
That was broadly known to indicate a low-price plan was coming to India. However, Hastings said that was not the situation.
“It got misunderstood as a decision that we’re going to have lower prices in India, which is not something we’re particularly considering,” he explained.
Hastings acknowledged the constraints of the present pricing strategy in a country where per-capita earnings is a tenth of the in the USA.
“It is a fact that if you’re trying for a billion families, that probably wouldn’t get the job done,” he said. “But if you are focused on English-language, English-entertainment families, there’s a much higher income.”
He called the high-end concentrate”a practical, realistic” spot to start and the business eventually expected to target a broader audience.
Netflix now has more than 130 million subscribers worldwide. Hastings has stated the India market could deliver the following 100 million readers.