Netflix inks deal with Ambani's Jio to expand India presence

Netflix inks deal with Ambani’s Jio to expand India presence

Netflix has inked a “first-of-its-kind” deal with Jio Platforms, India’s largest telecom operator, to bundle the streaming service with the carrier’s two pay-as-you-go plans as the American giant pushes to expand its subscriber base in the key Asian market.

A mobile-only Netflix subscription is included in Jio’s 1,099 rupees ($13.2) plan, while the 1,499 rupees ($18) plan offers Netflix Basic, both companies announced Friday. The $13.2 plan provides 2GB of 5G data daily, and the $18 plan offers 3GB daily data. Both plans are valid for 84 days and feature unlimited free voice calls.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Jio. Over the years, we have launched a variety of successful local shows, documentaries and films which have been loved by audiences across India. Our collection of must watch stories is growing and our new prepaid bundle partnership with Jio will give more customers access to this exciting line-up of Indian content as well as some incredible stories from around the world,” said Tony Zameczkowski, vice president of APAC Partnerships for Netflix, in a statement.

This is the first time Netflix has partnered with a telecom operator in India to offer the streaming service on a prepaid, or pay-as-you-go plan, Reliance said. (An existing partnership between the two firms also offers a Netflix subscription with the carrier’s postpaid and fibre plans. The vast majority of people in India top up their phones with pay-as-you-go plans instead of subscribing to the typical recurring subscription common in most developed markets.)

The deepening partnership between the companies underscores the unique approach Netflix takes in India, where the average revenue per subscriber is markedly lower than in the U.S. and U.K. The expansion coincides with Netflix raising its subscription prices in the U.S. and several other developed markets multiple times in recent quarters, as well as a global crackdown on password-sharing.

For Jio Platforms, India’s leading telecom with over 450 million users, Friday’s move highlights the intensity of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries unit’s efforts to outpace rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea. The company, securing most of the $19 billion 5G spectrum license in India by outbidding competitors, has also broadened its handset range to attract more users and recently provided complimentary cricket streaming.

Active telecom subscriber market share in India (data: TRAI, Jefferies). Image Credits: Jefferies

“We are committed to bringing world class services to our users. The launch of Netflix bundles with our prepaid plan is yet another step to demonstrate our resolve. Our partnership with global partners like Netflix has grown in strength and together we are creating use cases for rest of the world to follow,” said Kiran Thomas, CEO of Jio Platforms Limited, in a statement.

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