February 14, 2022
The U.S. and Europe have become “Netflix’d out,” with the streamer suggested to focus on emerging markets such as India if it wants to halt declining subscriber growth and plummeting share price, according to new data from analytics company GlobalData.
Netflix is expected to spend an estimated $18 billion on content this year, but this will fail to attract new subs unless the streamer recognizes that many of its markets have reached saturation. GlobalData contends that India holds the most market potential, with Netflix penetration in the country expected to increase to 42% in 2026 from 24% in 2021, and streaming subscriptions forecast to reach 191 million by 2026.
“Netflix’s [fiscal] results may have come at a surprise to some, as the platform’s content has been strong. However, being a big spender won’t necessarily grow subscriber numbers in the company’s traditional markets,” Francesca Gregory, associate analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement. “Streaming companies’ mantra of ‘content is king’ is no longer guaranteeing ideal subscriptions growth. Netflix will need to refine its emerging economy strategy, which has been seriously lacking.”
Gregory contends Netflix’s market share in India hovers around 4% compared with 68% for rival Disney+. Indeed, India subs account for more than 35% of Disney+ total subs — a reality helped by Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox, whose assets included Indian streaming platform Hotstar.
“If the company wants to spend big, surely it can spare a portion to grow its local Indian content,” Gregory said. “Netflix will need to work hard to address these problems going forward. One way is regionalized content initiatives. In the past, the company has been criticized for confusing its cultural references in its original shows. Further blunders like this will stifle any hope of Netflix reversing its weak position in India.”