Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced on Wednesday that the company will offer its services in more than 130 new countries, including India, Russia and South Korea. The expansion brings Netflix's streaming services to more than 190 countries — almost every nation on the planet, with the notable exception of China. Slowing growth in the US has put pressure on the company's goal to grow internationally, but Mr Hastings told CES attendees that they were "witnessing the birth of a new, global Internet TV network".
Netflix's global expansion into India comes at a time when high-speed Internet connectivity is rapidly spreading among its population. India is estimated to have had more than 400 million Internet users at the end of 2015, with more than 70 percent of these accessing the Internet from their mobile devices. Users in the region are increasingly going online via smartphones, and a big push in LTE in 2016 by Indian operators should be favourable to streaming services. The advent of Reliance Jio's 4G network should be particularly conducive to Netflix's service, and the video giant could boost demand for LTE services and handsets.
Users in India have demonstrated a healthy appetite for movies, and Netflix gives access to content otherwise not available in the region. The service offers original series including Daredevil, Grace and Frankie, Jessica Jones, Marco Polo, Narcos and Sense8, as well as access to licensed TV shows and movies. The addition of Bollywood titles is expected to see subscriber numbers jump considerably, with Bollywood churning out more moves than Hollywood each year.
The on-demand video service market in India is still in its nascent stages, but Netflix's entry is expected to facilitate considerable growth. We also anticipate that mobile operators in the region will push Netflix to encourage mobile data consumption and spark interest in 4G services.
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