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Netflix launches Hindi user interface, a move towards localising in India

Netflix has launched a Hindi user interface, the company announced on Friday. This is a significant step towards localising in the country over three and a half years after the service launched in India. The company also posted a job listing for a localization manager in Mumbai. As a part of the Hindi UI launch, some (but not nearly all) of Netflix’s catalogue is available with Hindi descriptions, including many Netflix originals and some licensed content. We have reached out to Netflix to find out how much of the catalogue they plan on eventually localising completely (that is, at least with a Hindi description and subtitle option).

Due to the sheer size of Netflix’s catalogue, it may end up being a bit selective on what gets the Hindi UI treatment — for instance, the company’s media website, available thus far in 19 languages, isn’t localised yet, and neither are most licensed shows and films that we reviewed on the site. Apple TV+, which has very few titles released so far, and no licensed content at all, has been able to have audio and subtitle options in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on top of the original language for nearly every release.

Netflix’s India-specific plans

Netflix is testing a Rs 349 plan in India, which would allow HD streaming on one device and doesn’t support TVs. That test, being run for new subscribers, hides the Rs 500 plan by default, indicating it could replace the SD-only Rs 500 plan, becoming in effect Netflix’s first price cut in the country. But the company said that it would only roll out the plan, called Mobile+, if users showed interest. The language option and the possible price cut are concessions that indicate that Netflix is getting more serious about acquiring Indian subscribers, after years of focusing only on premium subscribers who could afford to pay more, unlike Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar, whose prices have been much lower.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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