Netflix to let viewers watch free content on the platform on 5th and 6th December

However, the service will be offered only to a limited consumer base

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 4, 2020 5:18 PM

Streaming giant Netflix is launching a unique initiative StreamFest in India, which allows consumers to sample content on the platform for free on 5th and 6th December. Consumers can create an account and watch Netflix for free during the weekend. The account can be created without any payment info anytime after 12 am, 5th December. The registration can be done online or through the Android app.

However, Netflix has clarified that the StreamFest membership will be offered to a limited consumer base. "To make sure everyone gets the best Netflix experience, we may have to limit the amount of StreamFest members. So you may see a message that StreamFest is at capacity," the platform said on its official website.

Earlier, the streaming giant launched a mobile-only plan in India priced at Rs 199/month in order to cater to the large smartphone user base in the country. Netflix had also earmarked Rs 3000 crore for creating original content in India for 2019 and 2020 to grow its slate of local content.

Speaking to analysts in October to discuss Q3 results, Netflix Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said that providing access to Netflix for free during the weekend is a great way to expose the service to new users in India and convert some of those customers to paid members.

"Like most things that we do, we're constantly assessing and testing, and trying to understand what's working, what's working best, how do we improve. And we do that with our marketing and promotion tactics as well, one of the most effective ways to introduce Netflix to people in different countries around the world. And based on that testing and that actual performance, we've shifted those tactics, as you noted, in many, many countries, including the United States," Peters had said.

Speaking about the StreamFest initiative, he added, "But we also seek to innovate and come up with what are new ways that we can use to introduce Netflix to new members. And so an idea that we're excited about, and we'll see how it goes, but we think that giving everyone in a country access to Netflix for free for a weekend could be a great way to expose a bunch of new people to the amazing stories that we have, the service, how the service works, really create an event and hopefully get a bunch of those folks to sign up. So we're going to try that in India, and we'll see how that goes. And that's just an example of the kind of innovation that we seek to do in this space."

The platform is betting big on the Asia Pacific in general and India in particular as its future growth drivers. In Q3, the APAC region was the largest contributor to Netflix's paid membership growth.
In February 2018, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had said that the next 100 million customers for the service will come from India. He had also noted that Netflix has the potential to become a giant exporter of Indian stories.

"We’re pleased with the progress we’re making in this region and, in particular, that we’ve achieved double-digit penetration of broadband homes in both South Korea and Japan. While this is encouraging, we still have much work to do and we're working hard to replicate this success in India and other countries," the company had said in its letter to shareholders.

While it is facing saturation in its home market, Netflix has been growing at a breakneck speed in India. In FY20, Netflix India's revenue climbed to Rs 923.7 crore in FY20 from Rs 470.5 crore in FY19. Of the Rs 923.7 crore, the platform earned Rs 858.6 crore through the provision of entertainment services in India while the rest 7% through exports. The expenditure increased by 97% to Rs 909.3 crore in FY20 from Rs 461.8 crore in FY19.

In FY19, the Netflix India unit had posted a 700% growth in its revenue aided by growth in the subscriber base due to investment in local content and marketing. The company reported revenues of Rs. 466.7 crore for FY19 with a net profit of Rs. 5.1 crore. 

According to Media Partners Asia estimates, Netflix is expected to close 2020 with 4.6 million paid subscribers.

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