Netflix has a lot of ground to cover to become broad Indian product: Greg Peters

MUMBAI: Streaming giant Netflix has said that it has a lot of ground to cover in India to become a broad product. While admitting that the company is way behind over the top (OTT) platforms like YouTube and Hotstar, the company said it is satisfied with the progress it has made in the country so far.

Speaking to analysts after the second quarter results, Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters noted that internet viewing has a huge potential in India going by the viewing that happens on linear television.

Peters also said that Netflix has got a lot momentum due to recent original shows like ‘Lust Stories’ and ‘Sacred Games’. It is launching another original shows ‘Ghoul’ on 24 August. “We are still a niche product. We’ve got a long way to go to expand languages and many other aspects to cover to become a broad Indian product. But in terms of our beachhead, I’m very pleased with what we’ve been doing,” he averred.

Netflix founder Reed Hastings also said that he was pleased with the progress in the Indian market since its launch two and a half years ago. He added that there is a lot of opportunity and a lot of work to be done.

Asked whether Netflix has some specific features for markets like India considering the infrastructural challenges in the country, Peters noted that there are definitely a few specific things that the company is doing there that get payments and how sign-up has to happen.

“We just rolled out some improvements on the sign-up flow on TVs. So we are making that easier for non-members to become members and that to mention. But actually, a lot of the work that we do that helps our members in India is actually applicable in some sense globally as well. Whether that’s more efficient encodes to make the viewing process higher quality, start faster that obviously is great for our members in India but it’s great for members around the world.”

He further added, “Downloads is another great example where now we’ve rolled out downloads for when you don’t have a great activity or you don’t want to use the data and you are data capped. Now we’ve just actually rolled out the next iteration of that smart download so we can make that process even more fun and easy by having episodes you watched, automatically delete and get replaced by new episodes whenever you come back on our Wi-Fi network. So it’s a mix of both India specific and just globally relevant.”

Peters further noted that the company is far from reaching a limit in terms of the addressable market given the pricing structures that it has right now. “We’ve got a lot of room to grow in a reasonably affluent part of the society in India and other markets around the world. So much more runway, but having said that we’re constantly testing our pricing models what pricing strategies work best for our members around the world and trying to find what features, what tiers we can add to make that – a both a revenue positive but also a consumer friendly and consumer fair kind of approach.”

Netflix CFO David Wells said that there are three or four different set of growth patterns within India in terms of different demographics, segments, and groups. “And each one has a specific set of challenges with it and we’re in the early days of sort of that first segment. So yes, expect more from us in terms of getting into segments two, three, and four.”

Peters said that he does not think that the price point is mostly relevant to the value proposition. “Our Indian consumer is finding a lot to watch on Netflix and having a great time doing it and if there are that price point becomes more of a value proposition than a premier proposition,” he stated.