Netflix India is facing increased competition from more than 40 streaming services, but can localized Bollywood productions give it the edge over Disney+ Hotstar?

Recent findings indicate that the platform significantly lags behind competitors Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar in the Indian streaming arena.

Netflix, with its approximately 6.5 million subscribers, has been dwarfed by Prime Video’s 20 million and Disney+ Hotstar’s dominating 40 million subscribers in India.

A report from analysts at AllianceBernstein pointed out that a mere 12% of Netflix’s content in India is local. Comparatively, Prime Video boasts 60% of its catalogue in domestic languages, a strategy that might be a key contributor to its substantial lead.

Why Netflix’s Bollywood Bet Falls Short in India

This observation underlines the essential value of local content in reaching and resonating with Indian audiences.

Localized content not only provides familiarity but also a cultural connection that international content might sometimes miss. The simple fact is that people like things that they are familiar with more than those that they are unfamiliar with.

Despite Netflix’s efforts to make its service more affordable, even inking a unique deal with Jio Platforms, India’s largest telecom operator, to integrate its streaming service into pay-as-you-go plans, subscriber growth remains tepid.

Cricket & Content: The Secret of Streaming Success in India

Disney+ Hotstar, the market leader, has a trump card – cricket. Its streaming of high-profile cricket matches, such as the ICC Cricket World Cup, consistently draws in millions of live viewers.

Capitalizing on India’s cricket fervor, newcomer JioCinema has emulated this strategy, further intensifying the competition. Netflix may want to emulate this strategy if it can find an opportunity to do so.

Another layer to the challenge for Netflix is YouTube, which, according to AllianceBernstein analysts, could be one of its biggest markets in India.

This suggests that the perceived value of streaming platforms is benchmarked against the vast amount of free content available online, rather than just against other paid streaming services.

Netflix’s New Gameplan: Curbing Password Sharing Amid Global Growth Hurdles

Notably, Netflix has recently taken action to curb account password sharing in India, a move aimed at reinforcing its revenue streams amidst global growth challenges.

This strategy, combined with continuous content investments, may represent the company’s efforts to pivot and adapt to the unique demands and dynamics of the Indian market.

Yet, while Netflix grapples with its strategy in India, the overall OTT landscape in the country is burgeoning.

Projected to grow to USD 13-15 billion over the next decade, the Indian OTT industry has over 40 competitive players and is driven by affordable high-speed mobile internet, digital payment adoption, and tailored pricing points by global players.

This growth, combined with a demographic of over half the population under 30, indicates a promising future for the industry.

India, with its diverse content consumption patterns, is a complex market to crack.

Global streaming giants cannot merely replicate their international strategies but need a deeper understanding of local tastes, preferences, and value perceptions.

As the streaming world takes hold on the sub-continent, it remains to be seen how Netflix, with its rich history of innovation, navigates its challenges and crafts its success story in the Indian subcontinent.