Could you “BE ANYMORE ADDICTED TO NETFLIX?” An industry that has rapidly surpassed cable subscriptions and now stands at 613 million subscribers, permanently altering the market dynamics and changing the way we consume content.
Amidst ubiquitous piracy, full-length movies, and television episodes at throwaway prices on cable TV, Netflix’s nascent efforts to break into the Indian market were launched in January 2016. Netflix introduced it months before Reliance Jio entered the market and started offering high-speed internet at lucrative prices, which provided the perfect launchpad for the over the top platform. However, Netflix’s subscription-only pricing model didn’t go down well in the Indian Market. Initially, their penchant for a mixture of licensed and original content gained traction in India, but could not sustain. It had to lock horns with the local production houses, and so after failing at its initial strategy, Netflix shifted its focus to local shows. No sooner did Netflix change its focus than it found a fresh new competitor, Amazon Prime. Hence began the streaming wars in India.
How many nights have gone by, when you tell yourself “just one more episode” and then glanced at the clock to see its way past your bedtime? “Gaitonde ka teesra baap kaun hai!” All you Sacred Games fans, isn't this line the one which kept you glued to the screen?
The recipe to hook you to these shows is simple; end each episode with a mini cliffhanger, and each season with a bigger one.
Everyone has binge-watched a series by now. If they deny it, they’re lying! Netflix smartly builds its episode in 40 minutes to disrupt what scientists call the Chunking principle. According to this principle, time is divided into 30 minutes or 60 minutes, just like shows broadcasted on TV. Netflix’s 40-minute episodes lie between these two segments. So when you watch one whole episode, you are done with 40 minutes, which means you are 20 minutes short of 60, therefore you binge on another episode but obviously, you won’t stop at the halfway mark, so you continue watching another 40… then another 40… then another 40 minutes… this is how Netflix plays with your psyche and you end up watching a whole season in one night!
Game Over For The Big Screen?
In India, Netflix is facing immense competition with several other video streaming services. According to the Quater 2, 2020 numbers, Netflix and Amazon Prime are at a tie with 20% Over The Top (OTT) market share in India. Hotstar is gaining ground at 17% of the market share. Apart from Netflix’s huge inventory of original production content, they are also hosting old movies and series on their platform. The pandemic has caused cinemas to shut, serving as an impetus to the OTT platforms. Many tinsel town Bollywood films have skipped the traditional launch routes and opted to launch on OTTs. Amazon Prime launched Gulabo Sitabo and Shakunthala Devi while Netflix bagged the rights for Gunjan Saxena. Not to mention the recent launch of Kaali Peeli on Zee plex.
Netflix has announced an investment of Rs 3000 crore for original Indian content to boost its subscriber base. Unfortunately, Netflix’s subscription plans have been repeatedly undercut by its competitors. Amazon Prime Video Service, which includes the Amazon Prime Service and Amazon Music service, gives you the option of a Rs 999 annual plan or Rs 129 monthly plan, whereas Hotstar has the same annual plan as Amazon but charges Rs 199 per month. With over a dozen OTT streaming services in India, Netflix is struggling to find its niche in India.
Indian customers are used to the ‘Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan’ strategy which may work out in early stages for a company, but for the long term, the key is mass sustainability of business and to capture a large amount of market share, especially in such a crowded sector. India is a very price-sensitive market and with so many options available for a viewer, having a low pricing strategy with decent quality is the right box to tick.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, and CEO, on his recent visit to India, said, “There is nowhere that the streaming service is doing better than India.”
The only saving grace for Netflix is its robust international subscriber growth, but the Indian subcontinent will be their Everest. It aims to grow at a decent rate from here on; to achieve this they plan on offering cheap subscription plans and are investing in local content, a gamble they hope will help them attain a larger market share.
India is the fastest-growing smartphone market, and Netflix used this data to their advantage by introducing the unique Rs.199 mobile-only plan. But the catch here is that if you don’t have a good internet speed on your mobile, you won’t be able to watch the 1080p content without buffering.
With its unique strategies, will Netflix win the lion’s share of this competitive but flourishing market? A month of Binging on Netflix at just Rs 5 per month? Can you imagine Netflix being so accessible?
Let’s Binge and Watch!