Netflix in India: Should we say bye to our cable operator?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Yash Malani, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The international streaming giant Netflix is now in India, much to the elation of couch potatoes who had been waiting with bated breath for more shows to binge watch. Netflix is one of the true cross-platform video streaming applications that are currently available globally. You can access this on an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone or tablet, Windows phones and tablets, on the web browser on a PC, Smart TV platforms, Apple TV box, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox consoles as well as stream using a Google Chromecast supported device and Blu-Ray players. One subscription allows you access on any of these devices that you may own. Netflix carries most of the TV sitcoms, and movies. The online streaming service has contracts with a number of TV networks and movie companies to stream their content online. Recently it has also started adding a lot of original content into their roster. Latest trends have shown that most of the people below the age of 30 watch television only for matches or news. They find the content currently on televisions as boring, and that speaks a lot in favour of Netflix being the prime source of content consumption in coming years. But let’s not sell our set-top boxes just yet. Bandwidth in India being one of the major hindrances, internet providers really have to offer more Netflix friendly plans. The pull of Netflix is the uncensored programming. Looking at what happened to Spectre, after our Indian Censor board is done with Netflix, it will not be worth watching. There is also no original Indian content as of now. But going by the success of TVF Pitchers and YFilm’s, it’s a man’s world and more, there is a space here where Netflix can grow with original content. Netflix also has to compete with a lot of established players like HotStar and their ‘On Air with AIB’ show and Eros Now with their large collection of regional content and then there is the dominant presence of YouTube with its never-ending treasure trove of content.

With all said and done, let’s not say good-bye to our cable operator as it seems like a cheaper option as of now. May be Netflix and Cable will co-exist and give more engaging content. What happens next, only time will tell.

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