India has the largest online viewership in the world. Cheap data plans with inherent likeness for cinema, the scenario was perfect for Netflix to thrive. So why four years later, Netflix India is far behind homegrown OTT’s like Hotstar, Voot and even Amazon Prime?
The expensive subscription was one major factor. Indian consumer is not one unified market. There is the urban Indian and then there is the rural India which would rather buy a cheaper pirated version than spend money on a Netflix subscription.
Another major mistake Netflix committed was failing to understand the diversity of languages. While multiple language audience has been well exploited by other OTT’s, Netflix did not host any content except for Hindi initially. In contrast, Prime, Alt Balaji and Hotstar have produced series’ all regional languages.
Netflix has about 1.7 million daily subscribers. Hotstar has over 10 million viewers. Even JioTV has more subscribers than Netflix. Indian audiences may have moved on to Sacred Games and Jamtara but that does not mean they gave up their daily soaps. Since daily soaps entered the OTT world Netflix has found itself struggling even more.
Homegrown OTT is posing a huge challenge
Netflix may have an upper hand with exclusive International shows but local OTT’s aren’t far behind. Flipkart is the latest to enter the race with its own shows.
Hotstar bought rights to popular HBO shows like Game of Thrones under its service Hotstar premium. Other OTT’s have also provided exclusive services like Zee5premium and Voot Select taking the edge off of Netflix.
Apart from few successes most of its content hasn’t done well. Mrs. Serial Killer, Drive, Betaal, Ghost Stories are streaming on Netflix and have received lukewarm reception from Indian audience.
Since its arrival to India, Netflix has been struggling with net revenues hitting rock bottom and audiences shifting to other homegrown OTT platforms. Netflix surely can’t chill in India right now!