wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India: RTI

Exclusive: Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India, an investigation of the company’s India tax records by MediaNama has revealed (see methodology below). Of the company’s 93.8 million subscribers, between 211,500-337,300 are from India. This is a small share of Netflix’s international market, but it’s significant, considering India’s nascent broadband infrastructure; the video-on-demand market has also been mushrooming only in the last couple years. The company gained over 14 million new subscribers from outside the US since last year, when it expanded to all countries except China. India, which is the most populous Netflix market, has contributed to around 2% of that growth.

Netflix does not reveal per-country subscription counts outside the US. MediaNama used Netflix’s January service tax data for this story. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment. We will update this piece if they do.

Low Internet penetration and cheap TV

India’s limited broadband penetration and inexpensive cable and satellite television plans are likely why Netflix has gained such a relatively low foothold in India. In an interview with Outlook Business, CEO Reed Hastings had called India’s Internet infrastructure ‘frustrating‘. Indeed, even as the company collaborates with Internet Providers all over Asia including Pakistan, it is yet to announce a single collaboration or interconnection deal in India. Only around 7% of Indians have access to broadband; most use the Internet using mobile data connections. Netflix tried to bridge this gap by introducing the option to download titles offline in December last year.

Additionally, the high cost of cable TV packages in the US is in stark contrast to the inexpensive cable and satellite TV tariffs in India. While Netflix in the US costs a fraction of a cable package subscription, it exceeds the average monthly cost of television subscriptions in India. The cheapest plan costs ₹500, and the most expensive one is priced at ₹800. This makes it less attractive to Indian consumers.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Slowly warming up to India

Netflix has been slow in stepping up their India efforts. They have only announced one original show being co-produced with Phantom, and a single stand-up comedy special by Vir Das. They have also been licensing some critically acclaimed independent films from India, in addition to an exclusive deal with Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video has announced 17 original Indian series and 14 stand-up specials. The video streaming company has been decidedly cautious in the Indian market, and is only targeting elites in the country for now. Their content selection and growth strategy for India reflects that approach.

Methodology

MediaNama filed an RTI application to the Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU) in Bangalore, where Netflix has been filing taxes since December from the Netherlands. Netflix was one of the first international companies to silently comply with the 15% digital service tax, as we exclusively reported in December.

The LTU responded that Netflix paid ₹2.20 crore in taxes for January 2017. We divided this number from the service tax rate that Netflix charges for their most expensive plan, and the rate they charge on their least expensive plan. With this, we arrived at a range of subscribers, between 211,500 and 337,300. Since there are three separate plans, it is unlikely that either extreme in the range is close to the number of subscribers that Netflix has in India, so we are assuming that the number is somewhere between 2 and 3 lakh.

Interestingly, although Netflix started charging this tax in December, the LTU in Bangalore said in their RTI response that Netflix didn’t file any taxes for that month. The company didn’t respond to a question on why that’s the case.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Note: This estimate does not include users who are on the 30 day trial period.

You can read the LTU’s response to MediaNama’s RTI application here:

Written By

I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

News

By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

You May Also Like

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ