Netflix tests expanded subscription options in India

netflix india
FILE PHOTO: Traffic moves on a road past hoardings of Netflix's television series "Sacred Games" in Mumbai, India, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Bengaluru (Reuters) – Netflix is testing longer subscription plans in India as it looks to attract more users in a highly competitive market where smartphone and internet usage is soaring.

New users of Netflix in India may have the option to choose from three-, six- and 12-month plans at discounts of up to 50%, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Los Gatos, California-based company has previously used India as a testing ground for new features, launching a mobile-only monthly plan starting at 199 rupees ($2.79) this year.

Including the mobile plan, the company currently offers four plans in India, with its premium plan costing 799 rupees per month.

“We believe that our members may value the flexibility that comes from being able to pay for a few months at once. As always, this is a test and we will only introduce it more broadly if people find it useful,” a spokeswoman for Netflix India said in an email, but declined to give further details.

The US video streaming company is spending $15 billion on content as it battles Inc’s Prime Video service, Hulu, and Disney’s newly launched streaming service for subscribers.

Netflix chief executive officer Reed Hastings said last week the company was spending about $420 million on content for India, where it has already launched original series such as gangster drama “Sacred Games” and police procedural “Delhi Crime”.

Speaking at a media conference in New Delhi, Hastings also said the company’s first animated series from India, “Mighty Little Bheem”, had been watched by 27 million households worldwide, in a sign of the country’s importance to Netflix’s plans for global expansion.

The producer of original series such as “The Crown” and “Sex Education”, Netflix has nearly 160 million paying users worldwide, but has not disclosed subscriber figures for India.

The trial 3-month plans will be offered at a 20% discount to original prices, while users will get a 30% discount for six-month plans, the source said.

The Economic Times daily reported earlier on Wednesday that Netflix was testing longer subscription plans in India.

($1 = 71.7700 rupees)

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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