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Netflix’s lack of success in India ‘frustrating’ amid new strategy

Netflix has been one of the major players in the Over-The-Top streaming market over the past few years, expanding its subscriber base in various countries. It has witnessed growth in India too, as the company has added 2.58 million subscribers in the Asia Pacific region in the fourth quarter of 2021. The growth in countries like Japan and India had helped the company achieve its best subscriber-adding performance in a year in the region.

However, the performance has been considered below par by the company. The streaming giant’s CEO Reed Hastings said that the company’s lack of success in India was ‘frustrating. This was amid the shares of Netflix tumbling by 20% over slowing subscriber growth.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says performance in India ‘frustrating’

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings shared that they had cracked almost all the markets, but found the going tough in India as they targetted more subscribers in the Asia Pacific region. He expressed confidence in the company moving towards success amid the platform reducing the prices of subscription plans.

“In the investor conference call on their earnings on January 20, Hastings said, “In our experience in Brazil, it was brutal for the first couple of years. We thought we’d never break even. I know we’ve got this great business.”

“The great news is that in every single other major market, we’ve got the flywheel spinning. The thing that frustrates us is why haven’t we been as successful in India, but we’re definitely leaning in there,” Hastings said.”

The CEO added that the unique thing in the case of India was its cable subscription. He shared that cable subscribers were paying $3 per month, which was a different pricing than the rest of the world and that it had a role to play in the consumer expectations.

Netflix last month had slashed subscriber rates, with the most minimum plan being priced at Rs 199/month, from the previous Rs 499/month. Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief operating and product officer, during the conference call, said that it was part of the plan to increase the accessibility amongst netizens. He shared that the company was researching on the tastes of Indian consumers.

“We have been operating there and learning more about Indian consumers’ tastes, et cetera, and that’s broadening the offering of the service across many, many different dimensions,” he said.

Peters added, “We felt it was the right time to decrease our prices there, to increase accessibility to all… we’re doing this through the lens of what’s the long-term sort of revenue maximisation.”

He shared that it was still early to arrive at a conclusion, but the first trends were positive.

“I would say it’s still very early to look at India. And for some of these effects, like retention, it takes a couple of months to get a very clean read on them,” Greg Peters said. “But the early data that we are seeing very much supports a positive read on that lens of revenue maximisation through these changes.” RepublicWorld

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