Netflix kicked off the year with the biggest subscriber gains in the history of its video-streaming service. It has added 9.6 million subscribers worldwide during the first quarter of 2019, with the total figure of subscribers now put at 149 million up until March 2019.
It's the most subscribers that Netflix has gained during any three-month stretch since the Los Gatos, California, company unveiled its streaming service 12 years ago. The strong first-quarter performance coincided with Netflix's biggest US price increases and emerging streaming challenges from Walt Disney and Apple, two of the world's most popular brands.
In addition to its affirmation of strong growth, the company and its executives, during an earnings call on Tuesday, had a long discussion over its plans in India and how other pricing models are working out.
The company has been testing out mobile-only pricing models, both for monthly and weekly plans, with prices starting for as low as Rs 250 and 65 respectively.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix said its focus on India has delivered results and they are “super encouraged out of the gate with Love Per Square Foot and Sacred Games, where not only do we get a lot of viewing in India, but outside as well.”
Sarandos expects the demand to increase further, with new titles and shows being added in the coming months. When quizzed about the impact of the new pricing models for markets like India, Greg Peters, chief product officer confirmed testing different payment options that’ll allow more users in India to pay for its service.
"We’re making sure that we have the right payments models in place. We are innovating and testing our new models to make the Indian consumer feel like they have existing ways of paying that are natural to them that they can use to pay for Netflix." - Greg Peters, Chief Product Officer, Netflix
Netflix and its investors are understandably excited by the potential of India, but they want to make sure changes in pricing model doesn’t affect their business returns. And Peters seems to be vary of this need for balance in their strategy but he’s certain that adding more users in India is doable.
"We’re not positive that (mobile-only) is the right model, but we’re quite certain that we should do something to find a price tier that’s lower than the existing lowest price tier to broaden that accessibility" - Greg Peters - Chief Product Officer, Netflix
This should come as good news to consumers in India, especially at a time when Netflix, in most countries like the US, Mexico and Brazil has increased its prices recently.
With over 400 million users with smartphones in India, the lower pricing model could work out handsomely in the long term, only if Netflix is willing to burn money for the next couple of years.
(With inputs from AP)
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