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Battle of subscribers: Netflix slows down in race with Disney+ Hotstar

Can the brand, perceived as elitist, play the volume game in India?

Topics
Netflix | Netflix India | Hotstar

Vanita Kohli-Khandekar  |  New Delhi 

Netflix

Has Inc dropped the ball?

Media analysts were asking the question soon after the $25 billion streaming giant’s earnings call last week. The company behind shows like The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit and Trapped is the world’s largest pay-driven OTT at 210 million subscribers. It had missed its subscriber acquisition target in the first quarter by two million. Did Disney+, which has raced to 100 million subscribers in a year, have anything to do with it? Has finally found its match?

Some of the questioning spill­ed into India. After five years and an estimated Rs 1,500 crore in revenues, controls a huge 45 per cent of the subscription video business. But on the number of subscribers, Disney+ (26 million) and Amazon Prime Vid­eo (17 million) look way more im­pressive than Netflix’s 4.6 million. All of them were laun­c­hed or ca­me to India around 2015-2016. In 2018, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings had declared that the firm’s next 100 million subscribers would come from India. “In the context of their ambition, the number loo­ks small,” says a senior industry official.

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First Published: Wed, April 28 2021. 22:55 IST
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