Arrival of Netﬂix in India: Good or Bad?
Case study by Nayantara Dasgupta
Change in the TV Landscape
Netﬂix is one of largest on-demand content streaming company in the world with
around 62 million subscribers out of which more than 40 million are in the US.
A great bunch of online streaming cosmopolitan Indians may just have a reason to
rejoice, because the popular video on demand streaming service called ‘Netﬂix’
plans to step its game and venture into the Indian market. With 4G services
arriving in India increasingly and players like Reliance Jio and Airtel scaling their
spectrums hugely, the entry of Netﬂix could not have had a sweeter arrival.
Good news for Indian TV addicts?
Coming back to the point, Netﬂix is said to be the God in providing online
streaming services. To most of the viewers, gone are the days of trying to
download ﬁlms and TV soaps, which would most often take ages, considering the
speed and efﬁciency of Indian internet service providers. One can now plainly
stream content online on Netﬂix. Moreover, the wide array of content on Netﬂix
has already made it a popular site globally and hence now Indians have a wide
variety of content to choose from!
Every night will be a movie night
India is known for its diverse culture. People with different cultures have
different tastes. However, one thing is common; they enjoy watching Indian
shows. Many regional channels are available on TV easily and people don’t want
to miss their favorite shows. This doesn’t mean that Netﬂix can’t provide such
shows rather the provider has vast library of diverse shows and movies. In
addition to these channels, Netﬂix also provide critical acclaimed shows and
international TV channels. But the problem is majority of people like to watch a
popular show rather than experimenting something new. So, this is another main
problem Netﬂix suffering from and with the fear that whether it would get proper
returns or not.
Hassle free movie nights may just be around the corner!
This may also mean that more and more Indians may just be getting increasingly
addicted to international television. While this is a great way of increasing our
aptitude towards global art and culture, Netﬂix coming to India can in the long
run turn out to be a cause of great controversy and debate.
It will lead to a decline in their regular share of revenue, which has already been
dwindling ever since internet downloads and pirated content started doing great
business. So the big picture projects the advent and settling in of Netﬂix in India
as not a smooth one, rather it seems fraught with opposition and protests.
Survival of the ﬁttest
Zooming out of the big picture issues and zooming in to the particulars of the
process, Netﬂix still stands on shaky grounds. Netﬂix will not be the ﬁrst service
to provide streaming of movies and TV shows in India, as players like Star TV’s
Hotstar, Pritish Nandy-backed Ogle and Spuul to name a few are already gaining
a huge amount of traction in the sector.
Viacom18, propelled their pristine English GEC channel Colors Inﬁnity in stan-
dard deﬁnition and high deﬁnition.Colors Inﬁnity is attempting to address Indian
audiences that want to keep up with the seasons being watched on the US televi-
sion.Their objective has been to broaden the English viewing category and reach
out to a much wider audience through inclusive campaigns that will give Colors
Inﬁnity maximum visibility and reach. This is a direct threat to the sustenance of
Netﬂix where the viewer needs to pay for their content. This is where the wide
range of content which Netﬂix has to offer, comes into play.
Firstly, Indian masses being highly diversiﬁed have a wide range of tastes, and all
of them may just not be catered to, by the content that Netﬂix has to offer.
Secondly, we are all well aware of the internet speed and services in India, and a
heavily loaded site such as Netﬂix may face tough roads in adapting and estab-
lishing presence because of the slow internet which eventually makes most of us
get frustrated with online streaming.
Also, India having a major piracy market may just make licensing and copyright a
major problem for Netﬂix leading to major legal debacles.
Hence, while many will be jeering at the advent of Netﬂix in India, the real reper-
cussions will be known only once the process actually gets completed. Until then
the debate rages on!