This year was our most successful in India in terms of growth: Ted Sarandos
\Netflix saw a 30% increase in engagement and watch time and a 25% rise in revenue in 2022 in India
Movies such as RRR and Gangubai brought in 73 Mn and 50 Mn hours of watch time in the first few weeks of release
Even as Netflix has struggled to establish itself in the competitive Indian OTT market, according to its co-CEO Ted Sarandos India is the fastest-growing market for the streaming service.
Speaking at ET’s Global Business Summit, Sarandos said that Netflix saw a 30% increase in engagement and watch time and a 25% rise in revenue in 2022 in India.
The Netflix co-CEO also said that Indian films RRR and Gangubai Kathiawadi, both streaming on Netflix, are breakout successes in western markets.
According to the company, RRR drew over 73 Mn hours of watch time within the first four weeks of its release on Netflix. Similarly, Gangubai clocked more than 50 Mn hours in the first six weeks of its release.
Also read: Netflix’s India Glitch
Sarandos said that India would see a rise in content investments as watch time and engagement continue to improve. “This year was our most successful in India in terms of growth,’’ he added.
Explaining Netflix’s success in the Indian market against some others in the space, Sarandos said, “Unlike many companies in California, we manage India in India.’’
During his visit to India, he also met Anurag Thakur, the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting. The two discussed how India’s regional content is a global favourite and among the most-viewed content globally and is being dubbed in multiple languages, according to a ministry statement.
The development comes a year after Netflix’s current executive chairman Reed Hastings said that Netflix was struggling to find a product-market fit in India.
“The thing that frustrates us is why we haven’t been as successful in India, but we are leaning in there,” Hastings said in January 2022. The growth in the Indian market for Netflix can be attributed to the massive reductions in prices in December 2021.
Before the price cuts, Netflix’s mobile-only plan was priced at INR 199 per month, while its basic plan, which allows access to content across all devices, used to cost INR 499 per month. In December 2021, Netflix revised the prices to INR 149 and INR 199, respectively. All other plans were also rationalised similarly.
Even so, Netflix remains unaffordable for a majority of Indian households. Factoring in the abundance of regional OTT platforms in India, the US-based streaming giant still has an uphill task at hand. In India, Netflix competes with Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, Disney+Hotstar, Voot, JioCinema and MX Player, among others.
Last year, the streaming platform announced that it would introduce ads and stop password sharing to shore up its revenues. While the ad-supported plan has not been introduced in India, it remains to be seen how its decision to stop password sharing affects its numbers in the price-sensitive Indian market.
According to a Deloitte report, the overall OTT space in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% to reach a size of $13 Bn−$15 Bn over the next decade. The SVoD market is expected to grow to $2.1 Bn from the current $0.8 Bn over the same period.