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Netflix planning to enter India in 2016?


US-based TV shows and movie streaming platform Netflix is planning to enter India in 2016, reports The Times of India. A Netflix spokesperson told MediaNama that they plan to be global by the end of 2016, including launching in China. He however didn’t share any India specific plans.

It’s worth noting that Netflix, which launched in Australia and New Zealand in March this year, will be launching in Japan later this year. Netflix will offer a number of Japanese TV series and films, plus Netflix original series such as Marco Polo, Sense8, Marvel’s Daredevil, and Virunga among others. The company had also promoted its chief streaming and partnerships officer Gregory K. Peters to the role of general manager of Netflix Japan. The company is also set to launch in Portugal, Italy and Spain in October 2015.

Over the past 12 months, a number of new on-demand video streaming services have launched in India. While none of them have really established themselves as the market leader, it is clear that there is high demand for international TV shows in particular. Be it Game of Thrones or Orange Is The New Black, a large and growing section of Indian viewers are more keen on watching these shows than the ones playing on TV channels in the country. They end up downloading the shows from torrent sites. These viewers will be more than happy to shell out a few hundred rupees a month to access a host of well-known and original TV series online.

The advantage Netflix has over most other video streaming services present in India, is their bouquet of content, which includes shows like House of Cards, Bloodline, and more. Take for example SingTel’s video streaming service HOOQ, which launched in India last month. The company claimed that HOOQ will have a catalogue of over 10,000 movies and TV series, including titles from Sony and Warner Brothers like the Harry Potter series, Spider Man, Friends and Gossip Girl. The platform will also offer regional content from India, including Indian film and TV content from studios like Rajshri, Reliance, Shemaroo, Balaji and Whacked Out Studios. However, most of the movies and TV shows are already available on India TV channels, so why opt for HOOQ? The difference between what HOOQ is offering and what Netflix can offer, if it does enter India, will be exclusive content.

Right time to enter?

Next year will probably be the ideal time for Netflix India in any case. With Reliance Jio finally revealing that will commence commercial operations by December this year, and Airtel likely to expand its 4G offerings in the country, users are expected to have the bandwidth necessary to stream videos without having to worry about interruptions.

Netflix is currently present in over 50 countries. The company had added 13 million worldwide subscribers in Q4 2014, its biggest quarter of subscriber gains ever, and currently has over 60 million subscribers in total. However, about 40 million of them are in United States.

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