Netflix Bows Mobile-Only Streaming Service in Malaysia

On the heels of launching mobile-only service in India, Netflix has expanded the strategy to Malaysia with the bow of a less-expensive $4 monthly service available only on portable devices.

The basic Netflix subscription costs $8.99 in the United States.

About 88% of Malaysians own smartphones and 78% stream and download entertainment from their phone, according to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

Netflix contends subscribers in Malaysia watch twice as much content on their phones as the typical subscribers.

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“With the first-ever Mobile plan in Southeast Asia, all of Netflix’s shows and movies will be even more accessible for Malaysians to stream and download,” Ajay Arora, director of product innovation at Netflix, said in a statement.

Report: India Considering Censorship of Netflix, Amazon, Disney Streaming Video Content

With India and its second-largest population in the world, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney have aggressively sought an over-the-top video presence in the nascent market.

The influx of foreign SVOD services has reportedly prompted some government officials to ask for increased monitoring of content on the platforms — above existing regulations.

Reuters reports that public complaints about alleged obscenity or religious slights included in foreign streamed programming has some Indian lawmakers considering content censorship.

“The self-regulation isn’t the same for all, which is raising a concern … the directions are clear, we have to see how to address the problems,” an unidentified government official told the news agency.

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Indeed, Netflix and Disney-owned Hotstar agreed to sign a self-regulation of content code, while Amazon did not.

Netflix’s popular original series “Sacred Games,” about an Indian cop rooting out corruption and violence, has reportedly faced unsuccessful legal challenges regarding alleged offensive scenes and negative comments about Hindus and a former Prime Minister.

Other complaints have revolved around the lack of mandatory anti-smoking messages on Bollywood content streaming Netflix and Prime Video.

“With [censorship] regulation, all of the [global] content will need to be sanitized for India — a huge, expensive and time-consuming exercise,” global tech analyst Prasanto Roy told Reuters.

“Sacred Games,” now in its second season, has been an international hit for Netflix, including translation in 20 languages.

“We’ve been producing shows that are incredibly relevant in their home territories, and the nice windfall is that they get viewed all over the world,” Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said March. “It’s really accelerating the brand perception of Netflix as … someone who’s producing content that you care about in every part of the world.”

 

Amazon Prime Video Expands India Reach Through Dish TV

After China, India, with the second largest population in the world, has long been a coveted market by over-the-top video distributors Netflix, Amazon and Disney, among others.

Now Prime Video has partnered with Dish TV India offering the latter’s more than 17 million subscribers direct access to the streaming service’s app.

The agreement affords Indian subs streaming access to Hollywood, Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, stand-up comedies, kids programs, including Indian and Amazon Originals.

“We, at Dish TV, always work on offering innovative entertainment solutions and superlative experience to customers and the association with Amazon Prime Video is a step in the same direction,” Anil Dua, executive director & group CEO, said in a statement. “We are delighted to have Amazon Prime Video on board with us to offer its premium content on both our Dish TV and d2h platforms with our hybrid set-top boxes that are going to be launched soon.”

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Amazon launched e-commerce operations in India in 2013 — only recently adding Prime Video and Amazon Prime Now grocery delivery service.

“With this launch, we will further extend the reach and access of Amazon Prime Video in India, giving more customers the experience of watching our wide selection of critically acclaimed and popular Amazon Originals, blockbuster movies across languages and Indian as well as international shows, on their television sets,” added Gaurav Gandhi, director and country GM, Amazon Prime Video India.

Disney, which acquired Indian streaming platform Hotstar through its 20th Century Fox merger, has almost more streaming subs in country than the United States population.

Indeed, the pending Disney+ platform will be offered through Hotstar.

“Hunger for content and ability to pay are unlocking growth for consumer payments in video,” Uday Shankar, chairman at Star and Disney India and president, The Walt Disney Co., Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

 

Report: India, China to Buttress Global Pay-TV Market as U.S. Declines

Pay-TV home entertainment may be in decline in the United States and Europe, but surges in India and China will help the medium top more than 1 billion subscribers through 2024, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The London-based company said India and China — the world’s most populous countries — will add 26 million and 19 million pay-TV subs, respectively.

The U.S., formerly the No. 1 pay-TV market, will lose 14.4 million subs during the period — a decline of more than 16%.

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Indeed, China and India will account for more than 50% of global pay-TV subs with 356 million and 184 million, respectively.

“We have updated our forecasts based on June 2019 reports,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “The U.S. is the world’s worst performer — with no uplift expected over the next five years. Other countries will experience a slowdown — or even some small declines in subscriber numbers — but no other country will match the gloomy projections for the U.S.”

The lone silver lining is online TV. Spurred by standalone services such as Sling TV, AT&T TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with TV and YouTube TV, online TV will add more than 100 million subs through 2024, reaching a global sub count of 357 million and 20% market share — up from 15% in 2018.

 

 

Report: Netflix a Fiscal Deal in Colombia; Less So in Iran

Netflix invented the loss-leader subscription streaming video-on-demand market, a business model that has essentially upended how Hollywood markets movies and TV shows to consumers.

But apparently that’s not enough of an incentive for some pundits.

An extensive report by London-based research firm Comparitech analyzed in which country Netflix  offered the best/least economic value to consumers.

In short, Netflix Colombia and Netflix India offer the best value to subscribers, while Netflix Iran  and Netflix Denmark offer the least value following analysis of 77 countries the Los Gatos, Calif.-based service offers service. The SVOD behemoth is available in 190 countries.

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Comparitech took the total number of movies and TV shows Netflix offers in country analyzed and then divided that number by the monthly subscription price — from basic to premium tier.

Notably, despite offering the most content in the United States, Netflix America did not rank among the Top 10 economically favorable (or unfavorable) markets for subscribers.

Indeed, the report found the United Kingdom fell out of the Top 10 when factoring in premium plans. The U.S. dropped to 18th from 13th when upgrading from basic to premium service.

Comparitech said the average cost of a title (worldwide) is $0.00202 for basic plan subscribers, $0.00134 for standard subs, and $0.00085 for premium.

Thus, the average Netflix sub globally pays 55% more per title for a basic plan than Colombians, and about 50% more per title for standard and premium plans than do subs in India.

Colombia also offers the least expensive Netflix monthly subscription at $4.90 per month for basic service. This is 60% less than the comparable basic plan in the United States; 50% cheaper than the premium plan.

On the flipside, basic subscribers ($9.99) in Iran pay an average of $0.00347 per title, based on a catalog of 2,301 titles, including 586 TV shows and 1,715 movies.

Basic subs ($14.84) in Denmark pay $0.00336 per title based on a catalog of 3,525 titles, including 1,063 TV shows and 2,462 movies.

Netflix Shares Rebound Following $26 Billion Market Valuation Loss

Netflix shares are on the rise again following a seven-day freefall that saw the SVOD pioneer’s stock plummet nearly 20% (or $26 billion) in value after posting disappointing Q2 subscriber growth numbers.

Shares closed July 24 up 3.5% to $317.94 per share — still a ways off the $362.78 valuation on July 17 when Netflix reported fiscal results.

Indeed, the service posted a loss 126,000 domestic subscribers after projecting growth of 300,000 subs. It was Netflix’s first domestic sub loss since 2011 when co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings announced – in an ill-advised tweet from home – the separation of the company’s legacy by-mail DVD rental business from its subscription streaming business.

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Despite quickly cancelling the move following subscriber blowback, Netflix shares nosedived 75% in value.

The latest stock decline reportedly cost co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings, who owns 2.5% of Netflix’s stock, $850 million.

Before the drop, Netflix shares were up 35% year-to-date. The service expects to add 7 million subs in the current third quarter, which ends Sept. 30.

Separately, Netflix launched a mobile-only subscription plan in India for 199 Indian rupees ($2.89) monthly – less than half the service’s basic $7.23 plan. The SVOD service’s standard plan in India costs $9.41 and $11.58 for premium access.

The move comes after Netflix added just 2.7 million subs globally in Q2 – slightly more than half of the 4.8 million subs projected.

 

 

NBA, TikTok Partner for Video Contest in India

India, with the world’s sixth-largest economy and youngest global population by 2020, is a coveted streaming video market for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney and now the NBA.

The National Basketball Association has partnered with user-generated short-form mobile video sharing platform TikTok for a campaign around the ongoing 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors.

The social media venture – dubbed #DuetWithNBA – enables TikTok users to create and share video duets with content offered on the NBA India app.

The top-three winners who post and share content on the platform will be featured on a post-game presentation of the NBA Finals. Other participants will selected to receive NBA Fanwear.

The campaign follows last December’s partnership between the NBA and ByteDance, TikTok’s corporate parent.

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“We are always looking at partnerships that allow our fans to engage with the league across various content platforms,” Diane Gotua, VP, global business operations at the NBA, said in a statement.

Mayank Gandotra, director of business development at TikTok India, said the platform is ideal for users seeking to watch and interest with sports video.

“We are excited to bring to our active sports community pan-India exclusive content and engaging in-app challenges,” Gandotra said.

The TikTok app is available in more than 150 markets and 75 languages globally.

 

Netflix Announces 10 Indian Film Originals

Netflix has announced 10 new original Indian films across a range of subjects and genres, including drama, sci-fi, thriller, horror, comedy and romance.

By the end of 2020, a total of 15 new original Indian films (including previously announced titles Music Teacher, Cobalt Blue, Chopsticks, Upstarts and Bulbul) will be available to Netflix members around the world, according to the SVOD service.

“When Netflix launched in India, we changed the way Indian audiences enjoy their films,” said Srishti Behl Arya, director, international original film, India, Netflix, in a statement. “Given our diversity, history and culture, India is home to powerful stories waiting to be told to audiences around the world. The depth of talent and vision of our creators is enabling us to create films our members will love. We want to be a home for India’s finest filmmakers where their stories travel to more people than ever before.”

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The 10 new Netflix Indian original films include the chiller Ghost Stories; the drama Class of ’83; Mrs. Serial Killer, about a doting wife who must perform a murder exactly like the serial killer to prove her husband innocent; Guilty, exploring versions of truth that emerge when a small town girl accuses the college heart throb of rape; Yeh Ballet, about two boys from very low income families who discover ballet and through it a way to escape their challenging circumstances; House Arrest, about a shut-in; Kaali Khuhi; about a 10-year-old who saves his town from its dark past; Maska, about a confused millennial who sets out to fulfill his fantasy of becoming a movie star; Freedom, the story of an Indian family interwoven with the personal, ideological and sexual history of India; and Serious Men, about a wily slum dweller, who cons the country into believing his dim-witted 10-year-old son is a genius.

Previous Netflix Indian projects included Lust Stories, an Indian anthology film; Soni, a tale of two Indian police officers; new-age romance Love Per Square Foot; and the humorous family drama Rajma Chawal.

IHS: Netflix Needs More Than ‘Sacred Games’ to Drive Consumer Adoption in India

There’s a reason Netflix is emphasizing localized content and talent when expanding service abroad: Consumer adoption.

With over-the-top video by nature offering loss-leader pricing, services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video haven’t yet engaged in price warfare against regional competitors.

But simply regurgitating Hollywood movies and TV shows is a strategy of the past in markets such as India and China – two regions of the world Netflix and Amazon want to establish significant presence in.

In India, OTT video services will add 25 million subscriptions over the next five years, three million more new subs than pay-TV. It will exceed 35 million OTT video subs by the end of 2022, according to new data from IHS Markit.

When it comes to choosing connected video services, IHS found that more than 76% of connected consumers in India feel local content is important – with 74% citing the importance of quality subtitling and dubbing. Pricing also remained important across all markets surveyed.

As Netflix & Co. increase their focus on the Indian video market, including investment in local content, they continue to face competition from India’s well-established local OTT players.

The country’s successful domestic film and network TV markets pose challenges for newcomers lacking local content libraries. Despite launching “Sacred Games” this year, featuring Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan, IHS says Netflix still has a long way to go to grow its Indian subscriber base.

Star India launched Hotstar, an ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service in 2015, followed by SVOD service, Hotstar Premium, in 2016. The service is forecast to grow its Indian subscriber base 60% this year, accounting for 25% of all online video subscriptions in the market.

Its success has largely been supported by content investments, including premium sports, local-language content and international content from HBO, Disney and Fox.

Although pricing is the most important factor in a video service across all country markets surveyed by IHS, Indian consumers were most likely to cite price as an important factor in their video service decisions.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) among pay-TV subs in India reached $4 monthly in the satellite heavy market, while local OTT subscription services cost less than $1 per month. In comparison, the basic Netflix subscription in India costs $7.

To succeed and grow in India’s content-hungry market, IHS says global OTT video players need to provide the correct mix of content at the right price.

Netflix Partners with Indian ISP Hathway

Since launching its pioneering subscription streaming video service globally two years ago, Netflix has reportedly struggled to gain traction in India – the world’s second largest country by population (1.28 billion).

As a result, the SVOD behemoth Sept. 4 announced a pact with Hathway that enables the Indian’s ISP subscribers direct access to Netflix on their pending ($42) set-top box. Hathway subs will also be able to pay for Netflix on their monthly Internet data bill.

The deal mirrors similar agreements between Netflix and Indian telecoms, including most-recently Airtel and Vodafone.

“In this smart and digital era, customers are looking at leading Internet entertainment services like Netflix to access high quality, well-produced entertainment,” Rajan Gupta, managing director at Hathway, said in a statement.

Tony Zameczkowski, VP, business development, Netflix Asia, said the agreement would allow Hathway’s subs to use the Netflix button on their remote controls to access content.

“We’re very excited to partner with Hathway to bring the latest technologies and great stories under one roof,” he said.