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Netflix lines up Indian launch

Netflix is reportedly aiming to launch in India next year with a raft of local content as it looks to add to its global subscriber base of 62 million.

The US subscription VoD service will arrive in the territory with popular Indian programmes such as Buniyaad, Nukkad and Malgudi Days, according to local media.

The move, part of Netflix’s strategy to be “nearly global by 2016,” has caused Indian media companies to come up with strategies to diversify beyond linear TV, the report claims.

One of Netflix’s main rivals could be Hooq, a joint venture between SingTel, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Television. The service allows users to stream and download movies and TV shows in India for 199 rupees (US$3.20) a month – cheaper than Netflix’s US$7.99 monthly rate.

Another competitor would be new player Hotstar, backed by Fox’s Star India network, which has large audiences for its sports properties including the Cricket World Cup. Other existing SVoD payers are Zee TV’s Ditto TV and Eros Now, owned by Eros Group.

India is the second largest mobile market in the world after China, which has 1.27 billion users. However, India still faces infrastructure problems with internet speeds still far lower than in the US. This is expected to improve rapidly as 4G is rolled out in the country.

Netflix announced its foray into Asia earlier this year by confirming plans to launch in Japan by the fourth quarter.

Sources have also told C21 the service will become available in South Korea during 2016, while speculation continues to mount that the company will roll out in China soon. The firm also expanded into Australia and New Zealand in March and has recently announced launches across Southern Europe.

In related news, US business magnate Carl Icahn has sold his remaining stake in Netflix for just under US$2bn.

Icahn took an almost 10% stake in the firm in November 2012 at US$58 a share, believing it was about to be acquired, which turned out to be untrue. But under the advice of his son, Brett, he held on to his stake until now, the same week Netflix announced a seven-way stock split.


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