Will a ‘mobile only’ subscription plan be what drives Asians onto Netflix?
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Will a ‘mobile only’ subscription plan be what drives Asians onto Netflix?

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you may have noticed more Indian content in your recommendations. The streaming video on demand (SVOD) market leader is making a concerted push into the country, where it hopes to add 100 million subscribers in “the coming years”. That’s part of a bigger push into Asia, where Netflix’s content is only half the battle.

The other half is how to get people access to that content. In the west, Netflix might seem like a steal at between $8 and $10. But in Asia, where it’s competing with a variety of free-or-budget services, that’s too much for many households. The answer could be a $4 dollar, mobile-only, subscription deal.

Netflix’s share price has risen by 45% so far this year

graph 2011 netflix

Source: Yahoo Finance

Netflix is testing the service in Malaysia. A $4 subscription restricts you to mobile-only viewing on a tablet or smartphone, and only offers standard definition. That might not be appealing to western families who watch Netflix in high definition on the TV, but in Asia, it could be perfect. Asia’s access to the internet is spotty in many rural areas, making high definition more difficult. And the continent’s internet users have adopted mobile browsing to an even greater degree than their western counterparts.

Netflix hastened to point out that a mobile-only plan was unlikely to ever make it westward, and that the company was only experimenting to “understand consumer interest in a mobile-only plan in some countries.” In other words, nothing is set in stone, and a mobile-only plan may simply not be available in the future. The company added: “Generally, we try out lots of new ideas at any given time, and they can vary in how long they last and who sees them. We may not ever roll out the features or elements included in a test.”

Disclosure
Dominion holds Netflix in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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