Netflix is ready to take its lower-cost, mobile-only plan beyond India as it looks to expand the reach of its service in other international markets. The American on-demand video streaming giant today launched a new price tier in Malaysia that will allow people in the nation to access the video service for RM 17 ($4) a month.
The new tier, which is being offered alongside existing regular monthly plans that start from $7.8, limits access to Netflix to just one mobile device and in lower video quality (standard definition, ~480p). (Customers subscribed to this plan are not allowed to watch — or cast — Netflix on their TVs and laptops.)
The company, which began testing cheaper mobile plans last year in many markets, including Malaysia, said it is hopeful that its new plan would “broaden access to Netflix in this truly mobile-first nation.”
More than 88% of people in Malaysia own a smartphone and 78% of internet users in the Southeast Asian nation — home to roughly 32 million people — stream and download media content, according to industry estimates.
In a statement, Ajay Arora, director of Product Innovation at Netflix, said, “our members in Malaysia love to watch shows on their smartphones and tablets. With the first-ever Mobile plan in Southeast Asia, all of Netflix’s shows and movies will be even more accessible for Malaysians to stream and download.”
Like in India, Netflix competes with a range of aggressively priced services in Malaysia, such as iFlix, Dimsum, playTV and Astro Go. And like in other markets, the company has invested in production of original content to better serve customers in Malaysia, too. Upcoming series “The Ghost Bride” was filmed and produced in Malaysia. Comedy series “Polis Evo” and “Jagat” have also been popular among customers in the nation.
As we have argued in the past, Netflix’s standard pricing has limited its reach in many parts of the world, especially because a number of rivals are offering their services at lower cost. On its part, Netflix is increasingly admitting this publicly. During its quarterly earnings call last week, the company executives noted that it was “pleased” with the way its $2.8 monthly mobile-only plan in India was gaining adoption.
“Our approach with pricing is to grow revenue and so far, uptake and retention on our mobile plan in India has been better than our initial testing suggested. This will allow us to invest more in Indian content to further satisfy our members. While still only a very small percentage of our total subscriber base, we’re continuing to test mobile-only plans in other markets,” they said.
Greg Peters, chief product officer at Netflix, said the company continues to explore more plan structures and “feature value benefits” in other markets to see how the audiences react to them. In some markets, Netflix has tested weekly plans.
The announcement comes at a time when Netflix is slowly increasing prices in developed nations. In the U.S., for instance, the company this year revised the cost of its most popular monthly plan to $13. As more technology giants, cable networks and studios prepare to launch their own services, people across the globe are being confronted with a tough question: How many video apps do you need in your life?
Last week, Netflix reported that it had missed subscriber forecast for the second quarter in a row. The company said it added 6.8 million subscribers in the quarter that ended in September, below its guidance for 7 million. Of this figure, 6.3 million subscribers — above analyst forecasts for 6 million — came from outside the U.S.