The giant streaming service is ready to penetrate the chaotic Indian market next year. This is part of its overall strategy to gain a foothold in more than 200 countries worldwide. Global dominance has been on the mind of the CEO for a long time now, who is looking to evolve Netflix into the standard for streaming media. Local reports have already celebrated the planned move to India, although analysts have questioned the move into a market dominated by home grown media. Western and foreign media have not had much success in the continent, with satellite programming and channels like HBO only having 10% of market share.
That isn’t the only issue with India. Internet connectivity, reliability and speed is a factor that could severely limit the growth of Netflix. While there may be over 240 million internet users in India, only a small percentage of them have speeds that can support high bandwidth streaming services. If there isn’t a structure to support the giant streaming service, then it simply cannot exist. Prices for high bandwidth internet packages are also above global standards, with only a small amount of the population being able to afford anything above 4MBPS. Lump in reliability and technical issues and you have a quagmire of problems which Netflix will be putting its foot into.
However, they are more than willing to do that because they are looking to invest in the future of India’s internet and telecommunication infrastructure. Government funding has been steadily coming into develop over-the-top services, improving data lines and opening up the telecoms market so that new players can enter. Competition can only mean good things for India as providers then scramble to innovate and value add their services to gain more market share. Regulation has also been ramping up their crackdown on illegal internet providers and pirate set-top boxes smuggled into the country from China.
Growth in internet users in India is also encouraging, with more than 60 million new Internet users added to the list just last year alone. The best thing about it is that Netflix will enter into a market with virtually no competitors. Streaming services in India are at best in its infancy and the giant will look to establish itself as a household name before new players can even begin to take market share.
If Netflix can meander through the Indian bureaucracy, gain the right partners, put in the right people and have a growth strategy that aligns with the country’s telecom plans then they might have a winning formula. Netflix also needs to think of ways to circumvent piracy, either through regulatory frameworks or tech solutions to truly gain market dominance.