Industry

Netflix launches in India, plans start at Rs. 500

Netflix, which has been spending aggressively to expand globally, has said it planned to "run around break-even through 2016" and then deliver profits.

Netflix, which has been spending aggressively to expand globally, has said it planned to "run around break-even through 2016" and then deliver profits.   | Photo Credit: Paul Sakuma

The company also went live in more than 130 countries on Wednesday, covering almost the entire globe except China.

Netflix Inc. launched operations in India on Wednesday, with plans starting at Rs. 500 ($7.50) per month, as the U.S.-based video streaming company pushes ahead with its global expansion plans.

Shares of the company, whose popular shows include Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Daredevil and Narcos, jumped 9.3 percent to close at $117.68.

The move confirmed months of speculation on the launch of the service in the second-most populous country in the world.

The company will also offer two other plans priced at Rs. 650 rupees and Rs. 800 rupees, it announced on its website.

Netflix is aggressively moving into new markets and aims to reach 200 countries by the end of 2016, as slowing domestic growth puts pressure on the company.

Users can access Netflix through an app on a smart TV, a videogame console, a streaming player, a smartphone or a tablet.

Global push

The company also went live in more than 130 countries on Wednesday, covering almost the entire globe except China, in a huge global push by Chief Executive Reed Hastings to counter slowing growth in the United States.

Nigeria, Russia and Saudi Arabia were among the other major countries where the service was launched, Hastings said at a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"(This is) much sooner and much more ambitious than expected," Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

Netflix, which had expanded into more than 60 countries before Wednesday's launch, previously said it aimed to reach 200 countries by the end of 2016.

However, all shows will not be available immediately to some Netflix fans. "We're moving as quickly as we can to have global availability of all the content on Netflix," Hastings said at a press conference after his speech.

U.S. government restrictions on American companies mean Netflix will not be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria.

The great wall of China

The company is still exploring options for providing its service in China, the world's most populous country. Asked if Netflix will make it into the Chinese market in 2016, Hastings said in an interview "we hope so, but you never know."

"With China, you really want to build relationships first, before you get to the practical parts of building a business," he said. "And so we are doing that now and getting to know people, both in government and in partner companies."

"We'll just keep working on the relationships," he said. "We are very patient. Whether it is 2016, 2017, we'll just keep working on it."

Netflix on Wednesday added simplified and traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

"I think there's been pent-up demand for Netflix outside of the few geographies they were available in previously," Brian Blau, research director at Gartner, told Reuters.

Netflix, which has been spending aggressively to expand globally, has said it planned to "run around break-even through 2016" and then deliver profits.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:39:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/Netflix-launches-in-India-plans-start-at-Rs.-500/article13986241.ece

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