Netflix’s Free Weekend Access in India – There’s No Free Lunch!

Oct 23,2020

OTT giant Netflix’s offer to provide free access during weekend to Indian consumers is garnering a lot of attention and is being dubbed as ‘stream fest’. Netflix’s plan to provide zero cost access to its entire library over the weekend will be rolled out in India on a trial basis.

Netflix’s COO and Chief product officer at Netflix, Greg Peters announced the plan which is likely to go live on December 4th 2020. “We think that giving everyone in a country access to Netflix for free for a weekend could be a great way to expose a bunch of new people to the amazing stories that we have, the service and how it works … and hopefully get a bunch of those folks to sign up” added Greg.

Numerous players are fighting to attract and retain consumers in the Indian OTT landscape by creating an immersive experience with the help of new content and new strategies.

Over the top media (OTT) platforms are seeing an ever-increasing opportunity in India owing to low data tariffs, high bandwidth and access to smart phones.

The consumer is already spoilt for choice with plethora of options to choose from. Yet, the market is still widely untapped and hence to lure users into consuming content on the go, platforms are trying various marketing and pricing strategies.

Netflix is one of the earliest platforms to come up with its original content and explore the opportunity of producing shows and movies. It has gained itself a massive reputation owing to its diverse library and catchy content.

With 700 million internet users and almost as many smartphone users, India has always been a favourite market to test fresh plans and offers for Netflix, where it faces tough competition from around 3 dozen streaming services including platforms like Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hot star, MX player etc.

Netflix has also designed specific plans for Indian market earlier and has also come up with a Hindi user interface to attract users recently to attract the population apart from the regular urban millennial consumer.

The OTT market in India is predicted to grow exponentially in the next few years

India saw a growth in online content consumption by around 35% during the lockdown imposed in March 2020.

As the theatres and multiplexes remain a cause of concern for movie goers, OTT user base is bound to increase. Since the implementation of lockdown by various governments across the world, OTTs have become the go to option for entertainment.

With the closing of multiplexes, cinema halls and theatres for last 8 months, even the movies are seeking release on these platforms.

Furthermore, the shows and content watched on OTT platforms have turned into a topic of conversation across the country as social distancing and work from home culture continues to prevail.

According to FMI’s technology division head, Dhaval Kate, the movies releasing on the OTTs will be a new normal as long as the fear of the virus looms and keeps people away from social and public places.

The OTT landscape in India offers plenty of opportunities to all the players be it international giants like Netflix and Amazon prime or regional platforms like Jio cinema, MX player etc.

Each OTT player is trying to find its nice and finding its own set of challenges. Where internationally acclaimed platforms are fighting to match the pricing and content in the Indian market, the likes of alt Balaji, Hungama, Jio Tv which are regional platforms are fighting with regional language content and Indian originals.

India is forecasted to have third highest number of subscription - based video on demand users by end of 2020 and will be a major player by next 5 years in the billion plus user market globally. Evolution of OTT into a separate entertainment media and advertising category is going to make a mark in the world media.

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