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Netflix experiments with free content access to drive subscriptions in India

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steven36

The streaming major is offering access to the first episode of Bard Of Blood to non-members in India for a limited time.

 

 

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Netflix is making available the first episode of its latest India original series 'Bard Of Blood' to non-members in the country for a limited time, in a bid to attract potential subscribers amid growing competition in the country.

The episode is currently accessible through Netflix homepage and the Bard of Blood show listing on the platform and can be viewed across all web browsers on desktop and Android devices. Support for iOS devices seems missing, although those users will be able to generate a link by entering their email address and watch it on supported devices.

The idea here seems to be enabling users to watch the premiere episode and charge customers to access the rest of the episodes, hoping that the users are hooked onto the story and end up buying the subscription. While Netflix does offer a 30-day trial to all users, this approach is more story-driven and also aims to tap into the mainstream popularity of the big movie stars in the country.

The move is reminscient of the strategy by ALTBalaji, the video streaming service from Reliance-backed Balaji Telefilms, which has been using a similar approach since its inception. It initially allowed users to watch the first three episodes of any show for free and then charged them to access the rest of the episodes, although the limit now seems to have been reduced to a single episode per show. Times Internet*-owned MX Player also offers all its original shows on a free ad-supported model.

 

This development also comes at a time when Netflix is hunting for its next big hit after Sacred Games from India, that could grow its subscriber base in the country and across the world. It is hoping that Bard of Blood, the first original series from actor Shah Rukh Khan’s production house Red Chillies Entertainment for the platform, could be one of them.

India, where Netflix is aggressively ramping up its content spend, is one of the markets where it is witnessing increased user engagement and is emerging as a priority market for the company. In July, the service debuted a low-cost mobile-only plan for the India market at Rs 199 per month, its cheapest subscription plan globally. It is however still one of the costliest video streaming service in the country.

"At Netflix, we try different ways to bring people closer to great stories. We believe many people will find the thrilling story of spy Kabir Anand very appealing and are excited to make the first episode of the series available to everyone for a limited time. In the future, we will consider if we will do this for other films and series,” the company said in a statement.

While this is the first time Netflix is experimenting such an initiative in India, it has previously conducted a similar test with the Spanish original series 'Elite' in Mexico and Colombia earlier this month.

India’s video streaming market is set to touch $5 billion by 2023 from $500 million last year, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group. The paying subscriber base is expected to rise to 40-50 million users by 2023, as per its estimates.

 

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VoidAtlas

Seems like a smart move from Netflix. It's a huge market and by offering some free access it might get them some subscribers. 

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