Streaming pioneer Netflix has launched its service in India, allowing viewers to access unlimited content at prices starting Rs 500 a month.
This is part of the company’s global expansion to more than 130 new countries.
The service was launched during a keynote by Co-founder and Chief Executive Reed Hastings at CES 2016 at Las Vegas Wednesday night.
"Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network. With this launch, consumers around the world, from Singapore to St Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo, will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously…no more waiting," Hastings said.
With the help of the Internet, Netflix is putting power in consumers’ hands to watch content whenever, wherever and on whatever device, he added.
It has over 70 million members in over 190 countries watching more than 125 million hours of content.
In India, the service will be available under three monthly packs — Basic (Rs 500), Standard (Rs 650) and Premium (Rs 800). Besides, users will get a month of free trial.
In India, the service will compete with the likes of Hungama, HOOQ, Star’s Hotstar and Singapore-based Spuul, among others. While the on-demand video service market in India is still in its nascent stages, industry watchers are confident of manifold growth in the segment in the coming years.
"Till recently, video streaming services were pegged back due to the inadequate data infrastructure in India. With telcos rolling out 4G services pan-India, 2016 will be a year for growth of video consumption," Hungama CEO Siddhartha Roy said.
The incredible growth of smartphones in India has made the market big enough for multiple video streaming services to thrive simultaneously, he added.
Welcoming Netflix in India, Roy said the entry of global players will contribute in raising awareness about the streaming services as well as grow the market as a whole.
Netflix users will have access to original series, including Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Narcos, Sense8, Grace and Frankie, and Marco Polo.
This is apart from a catalogue of licensed TV shows and movies.
In 2016, the company plans to release 31 new and returning original series, two dozen original feature films and documentaries, stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series.
These will be available at the same time to members everywhere, the company said.
Netflix is not yet available in China, though the company continues to explore options for providing its service. It also will not be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to US government restrictions on American companies operating there.
Since its launch in 2007, Netflix has expanded globally, first to Canada, then to Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.