Netflix, Apple cross swords in Indian streaming market

Stiff competition faces Netflix in India as local and international platforms jostle for subscriptions and eyeballs.

India Netflix
India's video-streaming industry is expected to grow at nearly 22 percent per year by 2023 [File: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters]

Competition in India‘s booming streaming markets is heating up as Netflix joins forces with a director of Bollywood feel-good blockbusters and  as Apple launches its TV platform for 99 rupees ($1.39) a month.

Netflix announced a long-term partnership on Wednesday with Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment to make a range of new fiction and non-fiction series and films for the platform.

Johar has directed eight films including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, and was a producer on the film Raazi, nominated for best picture at next week’s International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, dubbed the Bollywood Oscars. 

“It’s going to be P.H.A.T – pretty hot and tempting,” said Johar, whose Dharmatic Entertainment is one of India’s biggest production firms and who already teamed up with Netflix for the successful Lust Stories anthology.

Netflix launched in India in 2016 and has won critical acclaim for two of its Indian-made series: Sacred Games starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Leila with Huma Qureshi.

But Netflix faces stiff competition in Asia‘s third-largest economy as Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney’s Hotstar, ALTBalaji and other local platforms jostle for digital subscriptions and eyeballs.

US technology giant Apple on Wednesday announced the launch of its streaming platform Apple TV in India, hoping to upend competition.

Netflix is available in India from 199 rupees ($2.80) a month, and as millions of first-time users access the internet in India, analysts expect competition to intensify.

India’s video-streaming industry is expected to grow at nearly 22 percent each year to 199 billion rupees ($2.8bn) by 2023, according to consultancy firm PwC.

Netflix chief Reed Hastings has said the company’s goal is 100 million customers in India – almost 25 times its estimated subscriber base there as of this year, Bloomberg News reported. 

Source: AFP