Netflix sets its sights on India

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 26 June 2015

Netflix is planning to extend its global video streaming empire by launching in India in 2016.

The service will include popular Indian shows such as Buniyaad, Nukkad, and Malgudi Days, according to The Times of India. It will also be available for both Apple iOS and Android-based digital devices, said the report.

Netflix will join recent entrants in India's nascent subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market such as Hotstar, Zee TV's Ditto TV, Eros Now and, most recently, the Warner Bros, Sony Pictures and Singtel-backed Hooq, which launched in May at a monthly price point of INR199 (US$3.20).

The Indian market certainly shows great potential: KPMG predicts that India will be home to 640 million Internet users by 2019 many of these connected via smartphone. India's total mobile subscriber base is currently at about 970 million, according to recent figures from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). It trails only China, which has 1.27 billion mobile users.

However, India's broadband connection speeds which are two times lower than the global average and among the worst in the Asia Pacific region will pose a significant challenge to Netflix in attracting subscribers to its VOD service. Though the arrival of faster 4G mobile services should speed up mobile content delivery in the coming years.

Netflix hopes to reach 200 countries by the end of next year. "We now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years, while staying profitable, which is earlier than we expected," CEO Reed Hastings told investors in a letter earlier this year.